I generally try to keep my personal feelings and opinion out of my work, but sometimes it’s necessary. Today is one of those days. I’ve got some things to say about the Deshaun Watson mess, and some other people said some things about it that I think are important to share. So, we’re going to dedicate the main body of today’s ATNFL to the matter.
Watson Discipline Fiasco Another Failure by All Involved
With the Deshaun Watson discipline fiasco ending on Thursday, we were again reminded that the NFL doesn’t care about women or victims. An 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine will be the final price to pay for Deshaun Watson victimizing at least dozens of women in the span of a year. I say that because only that many women came forward, but Deshaun Watson’s behaviors didn’t just magically begin in March 2020.
The NFL again made their stance on these matters clear when they settled for a proverbial slap on the wrist with Watson but suspended Calvin Ridley a full year for gambling. Josh Gordon has been suspended more than he’s been on a field in his career for smoking weed. But a sexual predator, confirmed by Sue L. Robinson … we’ll see you in December for a made-for-TV storyline return against your former team.
But almost worse than the NFL in all of this is the Cleveland Browns, who gave Watson a record-setting guaranteed $230 million contract amid the investigation. Not only did they give him a record-setting contract, fully guaranteed, but they also allowed Watson’s camp to steer the language of the deal in a manner that would skirt an impending suspension.
USA Today’s Nancy Armour said it perfectly when it comes to Cleveland’s culpability in this mess:
“Deshaun Watson didn’t just need an NFL owner who was desperate when he was shopping his services in the spring. He needed someone who would also see the women he’d sexually violated as disposable, not worthy of real care and concern.
In Dee and Jimmy Haslam, he found both.
The Haslams might not have assaulted or harassed anyone, as Deshaun Watson was accused of doing in civil suits filed by two dozen women. But the owners of the Cleveland Browns did significant harm to women, all the same, be it with their enthusiastic embrace of a sexual predator – yeah, I said it – or their enabling of him Thursday.”
Former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III had some strong words on the matter on Thursday:
RGIII hit the nail on the head. This whole saga has ended in a sickening failure for all involved. Unfortunately, some of his ESPN colleagues don’t quite get it. During last night’s pregame show leading up to the Bears-Seahawks preseason contest, the topic of forgiveness and second chances came about.
Forgiveness is when someone makes a “whoops,” an isolated incident in which they show remorse and become a better person. Dozens of offenses (that we know about) aren’t a “whoops.” That’s a pattern of habitual behavior that doesn’t qualify for forgiveness. Especially when Watson clearly isn’t remorseful.
In scripted releases, Watson has mentioned remorse and the desire for self-betterment. But when caught on the spot in live settings with reporters asking questions, Watson has maintained that he “stands by his innocence.” If he believes that he was innocent, then all of this was for naught. He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
Congratulations to Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who are now the proud employers of a sexual predator who “stands by his innocence.”