Around the NFL: Watson Discipline Fiasco Another Failure by All Involved, Joint Practices Are Dumb, Happy Madden Day, More

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.”

Extra Points

  • The 49ers and the Vikings held joint practices this week, a concept that Brandon Aiyuk found “boring” and pointless: “It was good work, it was good work going against somebody different, different environment, but I didn’t like it,” Aiyuk said on Thursday, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like it was a waste of time, personally. It was boring for sure.”
  • I’m with Aiyuk when it comes to joint practices. I don’t like them; I don’t think they serve much of a purpose. If NFL teams ban media members from filming practice to protect their competitive edge for the regular season and run vanilla schemes in preseason games for the same reason, then what kind of plays are they running in these joint practices?
  • Here’s what these joint practices are good for:

  • Every August, we see this videos of fights between teams at these practices making the rounds on the web. Just stop it already. Just look at who is trumping up joint practices this week:
  • The guy who comes off as a Looney Tune on the podium, Dan Campbell. What confidence could you have gained from practicing against the Colts? The confidence that Jonathan Taylor will run for 135 yards and two scores against you in a real game? We didn’t need a joint practice to learn that.
  • Anyways … The Bears and Seahawks were the only show in town last night, and Luis has that one covered pretty well, per usual. Luis doesn’t need preseason reps!
  • But, I will say this – I was a big fan of some of the things on the opening drive. The designed rollouts and the connection between Fields and Cole Kmet were fun and left me with some optimism.
  • Happy Madden Day! I can complain plenty about the lack of tangible improvements in the game on a year-to-year basis these days, but this is still one of my favorite traditions that reach all the way back to my Super Nintendo days in the late 90s.
  • The Jets social team did this one right 😂:
  • Here’s what’s on tap for the preseason action this weekend. We’ll talk about it all in Monday’s ATNFL:
  • Enjoy the weekend!
  • written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

    more bears news

    Caleb Williams and the Bears Are Meeting TONIGHT

    It's happening. USC quarterback prospect Caleb Williams and the Chicago Bears are meeting. Tonight. I've had the Blink-182 song "First Date" playing in my head since the moment I saw this tweet from CBS Sports insider Jonathan Jones: I...

    Around the NFL: Scouting Combine Chatter, Raiders Don’t Plan to Trade Davante Adams, Kiper’s Latest Mock Draft, More

    I said last week in the BN Newsletter that the NFL Scouting Combine is the football equivalent of baseball's Winter Meetings. You get most of the biggest executives and coaches into the same place for a week, and make them...

    Jaylon Johnson Extension Watch: Bears Have “Come Strong” With Offer

    It sure sounds like the Chicago Bears and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are close to reaching an agreement on an extension. This interview clip featuring Bears General Manager Ryan Poles talking shop with CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones is informative...

    One Year Later at the Combine, Peter King Provides Clarity, Flus and Fields, and Other Bears Bullets

    How are we feeling now that we've slept on what Bears General Manager Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus had to say at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis? There was a lot of good reading from around the...

    2024 NFL Mock Draft: Justin Fields Finds A New (or Old?) Home

    It's NFL Combine Week which means we're another step closer to the NFL Draft. That means after this latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft, we could start to see a few players really shoot up or down draft boards. As for...

    So Much for the “Caleb Williams Doesn’t Like Chicago” Stuff (Unless This is Reverse-Psychology)

    We can finally put to rest one of the most tired storylines of the pre-draft process. And not a moment too soon, in my humble opinion. USC quarterback prospect Caleb Williams, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL...

    Justin Fields Trade Watch: Falcons, Steelers, Raiders Reportedly “Expressed Interest”

    Finally, we're starting to see some teams fingered and directly connected as having interest in trading for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. USA Today NFL reporter Tyler Dragon shares this bit of information that piques my interest as three teams...

    Of Course Teams Have Checked In on the Bears Asking About the No. 1 Pick

    At this time last year, Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles essentially put a "FOR SALE" sign on the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and outlined what he was looking for in return. Chicago's general manager is taking...

    Matt Eberflus Details What He Wants in a Quarterback

    The new beard is filling in quite nicely for Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus, who had a lot to say during his media availability on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. But let us be honest with...

    Around the NFL: 49ers Interview Brandon Staley, Patriots Scouting Director Talks QBs, More

    The Chicago Bears aren't the only team within striking distance of a top quarterback in this year's draft class. The Patriots hold the third overall pick in the draft and their scouting director knows that this is a deeply talented...

    Latest News

    Big Sky Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    The Thursday college basketball schedule includes four games featuring a Big Sky team on the court. Among those contests is the Montana Grizzlies squaring off against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Here are our recomendations for the best bets on action...

    Big South Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    The Longwood Lancers and the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs hit the court for the only game on Thursday's college basketball schedule with Big South teams. Want best bets information? You've come to the right place.How to Bet on Big South Games[lasso...

    CAA Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    Seven games on Thursday's college basketball schedule feature a CAA team, including the matchup between the Monmouth Hawks and the Hampton Pirates. We have best bets recommendations for the entire conference below.How to Bet on CAA Games[lasso rel="draftkings-promo-1" id="299003"]Best CAA...

    Big West Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    Big West teams will take the court in five games on Thursday's college basketball slate, and we have your best bets information below. That includes the CSU Fullerton Titans playing the Long Beach State Beach at Walter Pyramid.How to Bet...

    Summit League Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    Summit League squads are on Thursday's college basketball schedule in four games, including the UMKC Kangaroos squaring off against the Denver Pioneers, and best bets tips are below.How to Bet on Summit League Games[lasso ref="draftkings-promo-1" id="299003" link_id="1436952"]Best Summit League Spread...

    NEC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    NEC teams will hit the court across four games on Thursday's college basketball schedule. That includes the Merrimack Warriors playing the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights at Rothman Center, and we have best bets recommendations across the board.How to Bet on NEC...

    WCC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    The Thursday college basketball schedule includes four games featuring a WCC team in play. Among those contests is the San Diego Toreros squaring off against the Loyola Marymount Lions. Here are our recomendations for the best bets on action throughout...

    WAC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    WAC teams will be in action in five games on Thursday's college basketball schedule, and we have your best bets information below. That includes the Tarleton State Texans taking on the Utah Tech Trailblazers at Burns Arena.How to Bet on...

    America East Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    The Thursday college basketball slate includes four games featuring a America East team in action. Among those games is the UMBC Retrievers squaring off against the NJIT Highlanders. Here are our recomendations for the best bets on action throughout the...

    OVC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

    OVC teams are on Thursday's college basketball schedule in five games, including the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks playing the Morehead State Eagles, and here are some best bets for you to make.How to Bet on OVC Games[lasso ref="draftkings-promo-1" id="299003" link_id="1436926"]Best...

    more bears news