CHRIS MOORE — NFL chose value over values in Watson case
Published 12:04 am Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Almost one year to the day after a Houston lawyer announced he would be filing a lawsuit against Deshaun Watson, the quarterback was hosting potential suitors ready to give up a king’s ransom and the largest guaranteed contract in NFL history.
At least 22 women have accused Watson of sexual misconduct. While a Harris County grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges, the civil lawsuits are ongoing.
Watson sat out last season due to a dispute with the Texans. As soon as the grand jury clearance broke, four teams couldn’t wait for the jurors to leave the courthouse before clamoring for the star quarterback.
A man with 22 allegations of sexual misconduct against massage therapists was in control of where he would play next season. The NFL, which waves morality as much as its shield, has turned from a moral league to an amoral league.
The Browns ultimately won the Watson sweepstake by offering him the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history and trading six future draft picks. To highlight the full extent of the amoral behavior, one needs to look no further than the new contract. While Watson will make $230 million over the next five seasons, the Browns agreed to a $44.9 million signing bonus. Large signing bonuses are fairly common, but it meant his base salary for the upcoming season would only be just over $1 million. The league will still likely suspend Watson for at least a portion of the season. But the low base salary means his financial hit will be minimal.
Let that sink in. A team restructured a deal to make sure that a man accused of 22 incidents of sexual misconduct doesn’t lose that much money if he is suspended.
Over the weekend, the Browns put out a statement regarding the signing. The team said they investigated the matter but provided no details about what their investigation uncovered, nor have they produced any evidence that they talked to any of the alleged victims.
The reality is that the Browns were a quarterback away from being a real Super Bowl contender. They saw a chance to get a quarterback that can put them over the hump, allegations be damned. If he has to sit out part of the season, or some of the season, he will be a Brown. Make no mistake that the only reason teams waited for the grand jury was not to see any measure of guilt. It was to see if he would be in prison. If they found out he was guilty but only received probation, he would be playing on Sunday.
The NFL has placed value over values, and a league doing every campaign possible to encourage women to keep putting their sons on the field as participation in youth leagues continues to dwindle keeps spitting in their faces with accusations of sexual misconduct with star quarterbacks.
Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.