What Do I Think? That is the Question!
After calls, and social media and mobile device communications asking my feelings on situations regarding the Guardians and Browns, and after reading infinitum sports reports and sports programming opinionated comments by many on both teams, I think I’m ready to share some thoughts on my favorite sports’ teams.
Prefacing my comments, I’m not a former athlete, team owner, front office person, coach or any other person affiliated with any professional or college sports team or program. I’m just a fan, a member of the Armchair Quarterback Fraternity, Sideline Officials Club, the Should-a, Would-a, Could-a Association complainer, who just loves watching sports.
In my life, I’ve tried to look at things in terms of WWPD [What Would Paulie Do? And BTW, there are only a few who can call me Paulie, where it doesn’t pinch a nerve. I consider it a term of endearment from those close friends who call me that regularly.)
So, what are my thoughts on Deshaun Watson’s situation? What would I do? First, I’d look at the two key people involved, Watson, and the NFL Commissioner. Encompassing all sports, not just the NFL, my definition of any of the existing Commissioners would include terms like egotist, narcissist, owners’ patsy, owners’ whipping boy, spineless, biased, inconsistent, two-faced, and liar. Take your pick of which of those terms, one or all of them, fit the commissioners of today’s major sports leagues/conferences.
Regarding Watson, three owners were cited for incidents involving some kind of violation of the league behavior policy. Punishments totaled zero for their “crimes” violating league policy. A while back, a popular QB from another team, under the current NFL Commissioner, was suspended for being involved with a very young girl, and his suspension totaled six games, then reduced to four. Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games by a judge appointed by Commissioner Goodell himself, who then disagreed with her ruling and is, at the writing of this narrative, appealing, because he didn’t get the ruling he wanted. The Jury of Public Opinion was very lopsided in their negative feelings of Watson.
Another situation saw a player suspended for a year for gambling. Sports gambling is legal now, the league endorses it and probably makes a lot of money advertising it. In my opinion, Goodell is tired of being booed whenever he steps up to a microphone, making his appeal and actions look like attempts to, like little kids on playgrounds, get more people to like him.
Shifting to the changing of the Indians to Guardians, I’m a baseball fan. Indians was the only name I knew in my lifetime before the change. I’ve accepted that change, but still can’t understand the pile of “stuff” (I can’t say “stuff’s” synonym in this forum) the MLB commissioner shoveled regarding this team appearing racist because of its name, yet other teams have names connected to Native Americans and still allow fans to Tomahawk Chop, and cheer using certain Native American related chants. (Consider, too, the NFL team, pressured to change their name and logo.) One MLB team still chants, as does a different NFL team, and College Team too. There’s also an NHL team using the name of a Native American Tribe.
MLB Commissioner Manfred Mann, as I call him, was reported to have offered Cleveland the ’19 All Star game if they agreed to change name and logo. Cleveland got the game, and the name and logo were changed. The ’21 ASG was scheduled to be played in Atlanta. The Braves have been adamant about not changing their name, and, coincidentally (?) the ASG game was pulled from Georgia and shipped to Colorado. Manfred Mann said the reason was to protest changes in voting rights in Georgia. (Rolled up my pant legs for that one.)
These are examples of many of the terms and adjectives mentioned earlier in this narrative.
I don’t know if Watson’s guilty, or innocent, but his case went through a process mirroring the system this country uses as the fairest way to deal with situations where people have broken laws/rules, exhibited questionable behavior, and may/may not have violated established policies. So, I won’t lobby for Watson here, as I do think he committed wrongdoings. I would, though, and am, lobbying for consistency, unbiasedness, and fairness, in interpretation and imposition of consequences outlined in this system. I’d do it for all examples in this essay.
Yes, I’m a Browns fan. When hearing they traded for Watson, I didn’t like it. I felt the Browns were coming closer to losing the “Doormat of the NFL” moniker, and this decision would result in a punch to their other eye. So, as I think Watson committed transgressions, I, too, think the popular QB did. I think O.J. was guilty too, but not being on the jury of these cases, I have/had to live by the decisions rendered.
Regardless the outcome in this, or future cases, I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and will be until I die. I challenge anyone who’s a fan of any team, a member of any political party, etc., to stand up and truthfully say questionable behaviors don’t exist anywhere among groups they support (which I’m not justifying), and consequences imposed in most every situation are not often inconsistent and biased.