Deshaun Watson got off easy because the players remained silent

Deshaun Watson, member of NFLPA

Deshaun Watson, member of NFLPA
image: beautiful pictures

Silence can be jarring.

And throughout this entire Deshaun Watson story, it’s the things players don’t say that resonate the most. And since inaction is an action, the message about how men in the NFL really feel about women has been pretty clear–if you’re interested in listening.

“Born us. Care for us. Love us. Make love to us. Marry us. Cheer for us. But we will never be on your side. We will never be there for you like you have always been with us.”

Last month, NFLPA release a statement stated “despite” what Judge Sue L. Robinson’s decision will be about Watson’s suspension, they – and Watson – will “stand by her judgment” as they want the NFL to do the same. One day later, Judge Robinson did what a lot of white women make and sell their gender by giving Watson a six-match suspension. A few days later, the NFL appealed the suspension seeking a tougher penalty, as the league made it clear that it want Watson suspended for a year.

All of this brings us to what happened on Thursday, when Watson’s punishment became official – 11 games and a $5 million fine. In the end, Watson and the NFLPA won with only five additional games resolved plus a fine that was in change for the $230 million guaranteed contract holder. For the NFL, this was a setback as the 17-game suspension they initially expected was reduced to 11.

Or is it?

Between initially wanting to suspend the entire season and appealing the original verdict of six games, the NFL appeared as if it was finally interested in women. It gives them a chance to say, “Well, at least we tried!” However, there’s something about this that looks irritating as Watson’s first game back will be on the road against his former team, the Houston Texans. Between Watson’s commercial needs and the legal situation that put him in this situation, he has been sidelined for the entire 2021 season. And now, by absolutes the power of luck – and coincidence – Watson will be back on the field for his first game since the 2020 season against his former team in Houston, in what is sure to be one of those games. The most watchable match of the season.

Chess, not checkers.

But, how did we get here?

And no, I’m not talking about what Watson is accused of. I’m pointing to how the NFLPA — a bunch of grown men who are supposed to be tough because they hit and tackle each other — went against their original declaration to stand down but then decided to play a game of tit-for-tat like a bunch of elementary school kids because they didn’t get their way. Morals and human decency be damned, I guess. Don’t get it twisted, the NFLPA cared more about the letter of the law than the spirit of it. And instead of players in the league speaking up for the most important people in their lives — women — they said and did nothing, all in the name of “brotherhood” and “locker room unity.”

They say birds of a feather flock together. But to do that I ask, even for the innocent ones, are you that much of a coward that you’re too scared to chirp loud enough so that we know you’re of a different pack?

However, it was wishful thinking all along to think that players would stand against Watson or say that they at least disagreed with his alleged actions. This is a league where men will always turn a blind eye to injustice. Ask Colin Kaepernick if he believes players had, and still have, his back. It’s the same reason why Antonio Brown kept getting chances, and seems to always get booked on a podcast by former players. And did you see any active players vouching for Carl Nassib — the league’s first openly gay player — to get picked up before the Tampa Bay Bucs threw him a bone and recently signed him to a one-year deal? The NFL is where they preach teamwork, yet, history proves that the league is built on selfishness.

Now, on to Watson.

On the day the final decision came down and just days after finally apologizing in an on-camera interview — which sounded just like an admission of guilt, though the QB has denied any wrongdoing — Watson told reporters that he would “continue to defend my chastity,” and that he never assaulted or disrespected anyone. However, he also make an official statement apologizes “again for any pain this situation has caused” and he is taking “responsibility for the decisions” he has made.

What is that, Deshaun?

Because by your words, you sound like a sinner who regrets being caught instead of an innocent person who did nothing wrong.

In a few weeks, the NFL season will begin and the focus will be on football. And in the end, everything will be about Deshaun Watson when he returns to the field. But at some point, there will be another incident involving a player who did something inappropriate, vile, or disgusting to a woman. And when that happens, someone in some dressing room will be frustrated with what happened and wonder why this keeps happening. And to that player, I want them to know that the answer is a simple one – It keeps happening because your constant silence allows it.

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