Welcome to the Morning After Huddle. This morning’s Huddle is recapping the Deshaun Watson suspension with accompanying thoughts.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The NFL is suspending Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson 11 games and fining him $5 million for multiple violations to the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. His fine, with $1M contributions from the NFL and the Browns, is going to organizations that support education, prevention, and healthy relationships related to sexual misconduct and assault.
- Let me be clear, this is nasty work. The NFL’s policy on personal conduct should be reevaluated. Watson’s initial suspension of 6 games happens because that policy has a standard baseline, but is extremely inconsistent with suspensions. Additionally, it is evident by the behavior of the Haslams and Watson’s camp that his talent is always going to prevail over the livelihoods of the women impacted and every female fan in the NFL. (For example, Watson’s lawyer tweeted and then deleted a post yesterday. In it, he claims that Judge Sue L Robinson was biased before Watson’s case ever hit her docket.)
- In my eyes, this gets worse when you look at the financial impact. Watson is losing just $632,500 – $57,500 per game because this impacts only his base salary in 2022. The Browns claim his contract is like any other contract, with the first year being a very small base salary. Any other day this would be acceptable, but only Deshaun Watson has a fully guaranteed contract of $230 million, which includes $46 million in year 2.