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?

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:
  • https://twitter.com/YahooSports/status/1559948994184450051?s=20&t=F0-oLJJO4B181zCMLzRkSA

  • 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).

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