On Monday morning, NBC’s Peter King did not hold back on his opinion of the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the Deshaun Watson trade that happened late Friday afternoon.
Spoiler alert: King took the conservative end of the moral compass and made some very valid points.
Here are a few of King’s key arguments.
1. No NFL Team Should Have Taken Watson Right Now
King’s point is that there are still many unanswered questions and legal issues to be resolved that could take an indefinite amount of time.
Until all of that transpired, King believes all 32 NFL teams should have steered clear of Watson.
If you’re mad at the #browns you really should be mad at the NFL, period. 14 teams wanted Watson, almost half. 5 teams wanted him bad, 4 teams actively tried to trade for him and made an offer. The fact that he is on the browns because he chose them doesn’t make them any worse.
— JC (@216_sports_) March 21, 2022
“But in what other business, in what other line of work, would a person with such serious accusations against him be handed a guaranteed $230 million to lead the jewel of the community, a prized and beloved public trust like the Cleveland Browns?”
As a comparison, high-profile figures in broadcast journalism have lost jobs over these types of offenses.
Consider Matt Lauer and Billy Bush as just two points of reference.
King summarizes the whole situation by saying:
“The moral of the story is if you’re good enough, or you’re rich enough, all else can be overlooked.”
2. The Ultimate Irony: NFL Actively Markets To Women
King talks about the breast cancer awareness initiatives that are well-publicized by the NFL.
The only time the NFL cares about women is during Breast Cancer Awareness month and it shows consistently
— 808s & Snackßreaks (@Snacks4Tweets) March 18, 2022
Beyond that, the NFL works hard to become an employer to women through coaching or other roles with the teams or in officiating.
Promoting Watson, which is essentially what has happened, to a new team with a higher pay grade in a workforce and community that talks about women’s initiatives is inconsistent behavior at best.
3. Browns Delaying The Announcement Speaks Volumes
King mentioned that the Browns took two days to make the official announcement of the trade.
Normally, that would be an instant event filled with plenty of celebratory words and media coverage.
In this case, the Browns owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam issued a statement that was very verbose but said little beyond their understanding of the sensitivity of the situation.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 20, 2022
King, at the end of his column, talks about the community of Cleveland and how it will handle this situation.
While many fans are celebrating, others are taking this personally.
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center issued a statement before the Browns did, and it was far more empathetic.
Still no announcement from @Browns social media about their big, expensive new QB signing. Meanwhile, @clevelandrcc and others are communicating to the public. Must make your organization feel so proud, #Browns. pic.twitter.com/chfxubm7qT
— Ryan Johnson (@Lif3ofRy22) March 19, 2022
“We understand the story surrounding Deshaun Watson joining the Cleveland Browns is triggering for far too many of our friends and neighbors … To the community we say, we see you. We hear your outrage. We feel it too.”
Watson has not even stepped on the field yet, and there are so many emotions from media personalities like King who do not mince words, and others who feel strongly about the Browns decision.
It will take a lot of time and healing to mend this if it even can be mended.
In the meantime, there are more challenges ahead for both Watson and the Browns that will prolong the pain.
Pixel Mite says
Buh bye NFL.
Who cares about what king says, he’s never had any good things to say about the Browns, Watson has not been convicted of anything, see Ben rothlisbergh and a few other players who were accused of wrongdoing but nothing done cause they were not convicted!!!
I hear and agree with you for the most part. However, Rothlisberger did serve a 4-game suspension for his actions (believe it was originally 6 games, and reduced to 4 upon appeal).
Also, both me and my brother have read up on some of these cases and most (if not all) of the allegations. No, you’re right- a grand jury did not hand down an indictment for sexual assault- therefore, Watson not only should but “must” be viewed as innocent by the league on the most serious allegation made against him. That being said, there is very credible evidence provided by enough of these women that suggests…more likely than not…Watson does have a problem with becoming “stimulated” when receiving a message. It seems he did little to hide this either. This it going to be a problem for the league office. Those who investigate + make a determination if there’s enough evidence to warrant a suspension will have sit around and go through “all” of this very delicate and personal information about a player- and then come to a conclusion on whether his “stimulation” while receiving a message rises (no pun intended) to the level of something that is punishable under the league’s personal conduct policy.
If I had to guess…. they likely come up with a suspension that is retroactive and goes back to the entirety of the ’21 season Watson sat out. That way, they can collect the large sum of $ out of him they cannot this season due to the low ’22 base salary the Browns gave him in year 1 of his new contract (the collective bargaining agreement mandates the league can only take game checks during suspensions, not signing bonus $). Though to appease the politically correct masses, they’ll likely tac on an additional 4-6 game suspension in ’22 as well (in the end, probably only 4). That way, Roger Godell can still show his face in the Manhattan cocktail party scene.
People (Peter King included) need to get a grip. How many of you out there actually read the accusations? Those of you have would know that of the 22 accusations levied upon Watson, only 2 allege sexual assault. And in both situations, Watson’s lawyers provided strong evidence to refute those claims. The strongest of which is that the 1st of the 2 women to accuse him of assault (according to Watson’s defense team) offered to stay quiet about the “allegation” if Watson paid out a sum 0f $100.000. That, if proven, is extortion. Also, the fact that a grand jury failed to hand down an indictment for anything involving criminal activity further backs up Watson’s denial of assault.
Now, I am not saying that he is completely innocent here. I read a couple of allegations where the women were very credible and believe they were telling the complete truth. And I do not believe for a second that all 22 of them are lying. It does seem Watson became, for lack of a better word, “stimulated” during some of these message sessions. Which in of itself is beyond inappropriate and does rise to the level of harassment…. even if it was unintended. He’s a well-known professional in the city of Houston and must refrain from such piggish behavior. He should immediately settle these civil suits and recompense all of these women (via his own wrongful actions, he’ll likely have pay out $ to a handful who may be lying) for the harm he’s caused.
However, with all of that said, after he goes ahead and does that, publicly apologizes to the people he’s hurt and let down, and serves a league mandated suspension ( which should be retroactive back to the 17 games he missed last season so the league can force him to pay back all the $ the Texans gave him + a 4-6 game suspension to begin the ’22 season in Cleveland), Watson should be allowed to move on with his life. This will never go away for him. Therefore, he “must” be mandated to seek/get counseling for the deeply personal “issues” he has that caused this problem- so nothing like it happens again.
In closing, I do believe Watson is guilty of harassment. But it’s different than what pops into most people’s mind when they think of sexual harassment. From what I could gather on what more likely than not happened, Watson appears to be inappropriately stimulated when receiving massages (I think most can understand what I’m getting at without getting into the weeds). Again, it was wrong for him to continue doing this when it was obvious these therapists could see the effects. However, in the cases I read, when a therapist called him out for his inappropriate response and ended the session, he apologized and left the building. I found no credible accusation of him “forcing” himself on any of these women. Again, for the last time, he is not guilty…and a grand jury has already backed it up….of sexual assault. For Peter King, the author of this article, and even the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (an organization that I’m sure does a lot of good work which goes unnoticed) to infer that Watson is some sort of dangerous predator who is a threat to rape women at any time, is unfair and “could” (in the most extreme sense) be viewed as slanderous.