• Vallicia Clark

Deshaun Watson: Family & Football


Years ago, before Deshaun Watson carried Clemson back to national prominence, became the face of college football, and became the talk of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, he was a frightened 15-year-old sitting next to his mother in a cold hospital room.

Watson showed up because he thought his mother had developed strep throat, but it was worse: he learned that she was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer.

The woman who had raised four children alone in government housing in Gainesville, GA, until two years earlier had her tongue removed and replaced with breast tissue. She lost 200 pounds and had to learn to speak again.

For the rest of her life, Watson’s mother will be fed through tubes, and only her family will be able to understand her unique speech.

Deshaun says his mother is his “inspiration.” He also stated that she is “the greatest woman on earth.”

The same woman that gave Clemson its greatest player ever gave college football a unique ambassador not afraid to tackle controversial subjects. From stereotypes about black quarterbacks to social justice issues to dealing with newfound celebrity status, Deshaun addresses it all.

In an interview with Matt Hayes, he was asked about his mother and football.

Matt Hayes: The greatest woman on earth? When you get married, will your mother still be the greatest woman on earth?

Deshaun Watson: Of course. No one can beat Momma. She made me the person I am today. The way I think and act and move and talk and speak. It's all because of her. She made sure that I was straight and that Clemson wasn't getting a guy to go mess up or hurt their program.

Hayes: What Clemson got was the face of college football. Has that sunk in yet? Is that something you could've imagined when you were younger?

Watson: It absolutely is. Believe it or not, it's what I wanted from when I was a kid playing the game. I watched Tim Tebow and how he played and how he carried himself and the good that he did for the game on and off the field. I knew that's what I wanted to do. I'm really comfortable with it; I enjoy it and everything that comes with it.

Hayes: Being the face of the game means talking about important issues. Some professional athletes have publicly spoken out on racial profiling with police. As an African-American man, have you ever endured that?

Watson: I really can't speak much on that because I haven't had any experience. It just hasn't happened to me. I try to do the right things. I was always raised that if you do the right thing and obey the law, you won't have problems. I really believe that. But that's just me; that's what I've tried to do because that's how my mother raised me. She always told us, how do you want people to see you? Do you want them to see your true character, or something else? Coach always says character is the way you act when no one is watching. I try to act as a man of character if no one is watching or if the world is watching. I'm not saying [racial profiling] doesn't happen; I'm saying I haven't experienced it. I try to do the right thing.

In the interview, Deshaun also speaks on the controversial stereotyping of black quarterbacks in the NFL and college football, and other controversial news.