Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard is calling out what he sees as media biases on behalf of his fellow NFL player Deshaun Watson, and he doesn’t care who gets mad about it.
The 25-year-old football player fired off a slew of tweets on Saturday, March 27, spotlighting the difference in coverage between the 19 filed suits of sexual misconduct mounting against the Houston Texans quarterback and the charges against former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chad Wheeler’s for his alleged brutal attack against ex-girlfriend Alleah Taylor.
Wheeler, 27, is currently facing multiple charges for the violent incident, including domestic violence unlawful imprisonment, first-degree domestic violence assault, and resisting arrest. Watson, 25, while not formally charged at the time of this writing, is being accused of sexualizing massage sessions with multiple women, and at least one is alleging that the football star has been “deleting Instagram messages, and contacting those who formally provided him massages, in an attempt to settle,” which Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has “categorically denied.”
In his tweets, Leonard addresses his observation of what he characterizes as the more critical coverage of Watson when compared against Wheeler, both of whom are under fire for alleged crimes against women, and implies that the bias is purely racial. “It’s crazy that people bash Watson with no evidence but nobody want to say anything about Chad Wheeler who tried to kill his girlfriend 🤔!” he wrote. “I’m just saying now, D Wat got killed with no proof but this guy who tried to put his girlfriend underground @espn or any other outlets was🤫”
Promising to “always keep it a buck” with his fans, he went on to wonder whether “politics” was the reason for what he says is the disparities in coverage and challenged networks to share his comments, calling out ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith specifically. “Let me guess politics? Or it wouldn’t be good to shame a 🤫let me stop!”
“I bet none of them networks will repost what I said this time!” he continued. “But hey, I’ll call them out and hold the accountable just like they would do me! @stephenasmith what’s sup man?”
Leonard closed his mini-Twitter tirade out by firmly stating that his opinions are just that, his, and if readers don’t like them they don’t have to follow him. “Crazy thing about me Idc who feelings I hurt, ima keep it💯! I’ve never let anyone put limitation or anything on me on the field or off the field, if u don’t like it don’t follow! Ima say what others want but absolutely scared to!I only fear God! U can have the fame I want real.”
According to ESPN, “Watson has publicly denied any wrongdoing, and Hardin said last week that he believes ‘any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.’”
Wheeler was arrested and charged on Jan. 23. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in February and was granted pretrial release ahead of his June 1 trial date.
At the time of this article’s writing, Smith has yet to respond to Leonard’s messages.