Deshaun Watson made his first preseason appearance for the Cleveland Browns over the weekend, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t received warmly by opposing fans. Jacksonville Jaguars fans gave Watson quite the welcome during their preseason clash, unleashing a profanity-fueled chant aimed at the controversial quarterback. Browns OL Joel Bitonio was asked about opposing fans’ treatment of Watson, and he made clear that the team was in the corner of the quarterback. Via Mary Kay Cabot, Bitonio described the situation as feeling like it was “Cleveland against the world.”
Joel Bitonio believes the #Browns will be booed wherever they go like when Deshaun Watson took the field in Jacksonville. “It seems now more than ever, it’s Cleveland against the world. We’ll be ready for it”
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 14, 2022
Watson was heavily booed and was the victim of some less-than-kind chants from Jaguars fans over the weekend, and Bitonio expects it’s something that the team will have to deal with on the road going forward.
“It seems now more than ever, it’s Cleveland against the world,” said Bitonio via Kay Cabot. “We’ll be ready for it.”
Bitonio voiced his support for Watson following Cleveland’s preseason-opening win against the Jaguars. It’s understandable that Watson will be on the receiving end of some brutal chants from opposing fanbases throughout the year, but Bitonio is making it clear that the quarterback will have the support of his teammates.
The Browns better get used to some hostile environments at road games, because it doesn’t seem likely that the treatment of Watson will improve. While his suspension could still be increased beyond its current six games, the Browns are hopeful that he’ll avoid a full-season ban.
If he is able to play, the ruthless treatment from opposing fans will certainly continue, and that’s just something the Browns are going to have to prepare to deal with. As Bitonio said himself, the Browns will “be ready for it” and appear set to operate under the mentality of “Cleveland against the world” when it comes to Watson and the backlash he receives.