One of the more controversial stories of the 2022 NFL season was the suspension of DeShaun Watson and his subsequent poor play. The Browns traded a boatload of draft picks, including three first rounders, and faced potential PR backlash for bringing Watson into the fold.
Ultimately, Watson was suspended for 11 games, and when he finally hit the field, he wasn't worth the wait. Prior to Watson showing up, Jacoby Brissett actually did a decent job, throwing for 12 TDs against six interceptions. When Watson showed up, he threw for seven TDs and five picks. The rust on Watson was evident.
You might recall, initially an arbitrator ruled that Watson should serve a six-game suspension. The NFL thought a year was more appropriate. Ultimately, 11 proved to be the magic number.
As a quick recap, Watson was accused of sexual misconduct with 20 some massage therapists. Or was it 30 some? Regardless, it was a bunch. The NFL thought Watson should be suspended for a year. Watson obviously disagreed.
A quick summary of Judge Sue L Robinson.
The NFL used four examples of Watson’s misconduct. So what’s was Robinson’s decision? She decided that the NFL had proven it’s case via a preponderance of the evidence that Watson had engaged in sexual assault against the four message therapists cited in the case.
Sexual assault against four women sounds pretty serious. I’m not sure why the NFL stopped at four, but that seems pretty substantial. So, what did Judge Robinson rule.
Sexual assault of four women results in a six-game suspension.
It seems the general consensus is that discipline was a little light. Ok, a lot light. So, what was the basis for Robinson’s decision? Robinson cited the NFL’s precedent in previous cases.
Here’s the problem with that. The reason why the NFL has Judge Robinson as an arbitrator is their previous ineptitude in handling situations like that of Watson’s. So, it seems that the NFL is caught in a circular loop of incompetence.
What’s the point of hiring an arbitrator if the standard of ineptitude is still in place. Maybe Roger Goodell was just tired of taking the heat for the league’s haphazard discipline policy.
And about that remorse…
Judge Robinson cited a lack of remorse on the part of Watson. Meanwhile Browns’ owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam said Watson was remorseful. It apparently is stealth remorse and only those associated with the Browns can see it.
“First time offender”, really?
Robinson cited Watson was a first-time offender as one factor for the seemingly light suspension. So, you’re a first-time offender, regardless of the number of victims? Really? So, when Jeffrey Dahmer was on trial maybe his lawyer should have used that defense. “Yes, your honor, it’s true my client murdered and ate multiple people, but I would like to point out that this is the first time my client has ever been prosecuted for a crime.”
But a grand jury failed to indict.
Actually, two grand juries failed to indict. But that may be more of an indictment of the Texas judicial system than anything else. Somehow, a star QB of an NFL team not being indicted in Texas isn’t that surprising.
And after all. O. J. was innocent too. The venue of a court case matters.
Browns fans seem to be stoked by the lack of discipline.
Ultimately, Browns fans, and NFL fans in general will probably treat the NFL like it was a hot dog. Just enjoy it and don’t worry about how it got there.
For example, most of us know that hot dogs have all sorts of nasty stuff in them. Even rat feces on occasion. Generally speaking, we gulp it down anyway. And that’s what most NFL fans will do with the NFL. Gulp it down, rat feces and all.
Backlash could come next year
While Browns' fans were patient last season, if Watson doesn't step it up next year, things could get ugly. Allegations of sexual assault are one thing, poor quarterback play is another.
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