Deshaun Watson and Browns deal reveals ugly NFL truth

Imagine you were a longtime Browns fan. Imagine you are a woman. Or someone who respects women.

Can you cheer for the Browns now in good conscience?

Or imagine you’re just an NFL fan. Most of us are. It’s our national pastime, after all.

Can you root with a clear conscience for Deshaun Watson?

How not to at least not get into conflict?

As Vince Lombardi repeated those immortal words — “Winning isn’t everything, but it’s the only thing” — he couldn’t possibly have imagined an NFL where morale takes a vacation and he — he said — is valued more than they are — everyone said Costs.

As always, if you can play, you don’t have to pay.

Oh yes, Roger Goodell and co. will certainly try to save face when he imposes a politically correct six-game ban – which, for Watson, amounts to a loss of pocket money – to show what the league’s zero-tolerance policy is for the league means new face of franchise in Cleveland per personal code of conduct.

Unfortunately, there is no zero-tolerance policy for a 26-year-old zero big enough to lead a franchise to its first Super Bowl championship.

Watson emerges from the shady, troubling 22 civil and nine criminal and sexual assault and harassment allegations of his pick of aggrieved massage therapists with the largest contract in NFL history? A five-year, $230 million fully-guaranteed reward?

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson

As they would say on Nickelodeon, slime pays.

Of course, Watson is free to go back to earning a living after a year as a football leper. That is not the problem. The problem is his historic reward after a grand jury ruled there was insufficient evidence to warrant a criminal trial. Which doesn’t fall into the he-is-innocent-until-proven-guilty arena.

Desperation to win a Super Bowl caused three other teams – the Falcons, Saints and Panthers – to fall over themselves to land it. The Falcons were ready to throw Matt Ryan, one of the classiest people in any sport, down the river. why have the Browns moved on from Baker Mayfield?? They wanted a grown quarterback. So they sell their souls for Deshaun Watson.

To get rid of Watson, the Texans secured three first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick, and surrendered a fifth-round pick.

Yet another reminder that if Darth Vadar could help a team win, the inevitable suitors won’t care much, if at all, about their character.

Kneeling to racial injustice guarantees you a lifetime of blackballing in your prime, while allegedly kneeling on the dignity of female victims nets you an absolutely guaranteed gold mine.

The Browns owners are Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee. The owner of the Saints is Gayle Benson.

What price for fame?

The Women Sports Foundation honored and celebrated Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians as their 2020 Champion for Equality for his gender equality and commitment to diversity. Arians had already hired assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar and assistant defense coach Lori Locust as head of football research prior to the arrival of Jackie Davidson, who previously worked for the Jets.

“If they’re the best people to help you win,” Arians said, “we’ll hire them.” … It’s the same thing I said to my daughter a long time ago — everything is out there for you. Work hard, put your nose to the grindstone and don’t give up. Never give up; Just keep fighting for it.”

The Giants hired Laura Young as director of coaching operations and Angela Baker – formerly part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Browns – as minority coaching fellow and offensive quality control coach in February. Giants GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll were recent speakers at the NFL’s sixth annual Women’s Career in Football Forum. They came over from a progressive Bills organization.

(In the 2021 NFL season, women made up 38.8 percent of the NFL league office, 25.3 percent of teams’ senior administration, 3.1 percent of team CEOs and presidents, and 1.5 percent, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics Percentage of team assistant coaches from the annual sports report card.)

The NFL has certainly courted the female fan enthusiastically since discovering the eyesore of disciplining Ray Rice for domestic violence, but has mostly looked the other way when Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his toxic cultural history tarnish the record.

Deshuan Watson
Deshuan Watson
Getty Images

“I grew up a Browns fan,” a friend texted me in the sports media. “I was a Browns fan before Deshaun Watson and I will be a Browns fan after Deshaun Watson. In no way could anyone condone anything they allegedly did and I cannot support the human being. But if the National Football League allows him to play games, I’m not giving up my fan base of a team because they’re trying to move up at QB and he was a natural choice. It’s a big PR hit. Some fans will leave the team. But sport is fantasy land where a guy can do what Watson did and still play. It’s not the first case and it won’t be the last.”

Anyone remember the movie Draft Day when Browns GM Kevin Costner wouldn’t draft QB Bo Callahan with the first overall pick for character reasons?

Should Watson settle the outstanding cases against him, he should know that he will wear a scarlet letter for the rest of his career. But should he win a Super Bowl? Goodell will present him with the Lombardi Trophy, and all will be forgotten, if not forgiven, in Cleveland. Deshaun Watson and Browns deal reveals ugly NFL truth


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