As Deshaun Watson wrapped up the 2021 NFL season, things were going well without him.
The league generated a record $11 billion domestic revenue. Television ratings he rose 10%, the highest level since 2015. Over 110 million viewers watched the Super Bowl. This is also his best since 2015.
The NFL didn’t miss Deshawn Watson.
Watson, who was at his best as a franchise quarterback, faced 26 lawsuits from massage therapists and spent a year on allegations of misconduct before being hailed as a commodity in the spotlight rather than a depreciable asset. was given.
His former team, the Houston Texans, received six draft picks from the Cleveland Browns, including three straight first-round picks. He gave Watson a record $230 million in guarantees, including a $45 million signing bonus, even though he knew the 2022 season’s 11 games were imminent.
BAUER DFA’D: Los Angeles says Bauer ‘no longer part of our organization’
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Never mind the very specific allegations that came out in the 20 lawsuits filed against Watson. Twenty-three of his cases were settled confidentially. Or the idea that he dispatched dozens of massage therapists in a short period of time – 66 in 17 months, according to one report.
Never mind that, after all, nearly half of NFL fans are women. Watson can win football games.
But it doesn’t have to be.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers named Trevor Bauer a 60-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball for violating the arbitrator’s domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy. 15 days after endorsing %, he cut ties with the pitcher. The 324-game suspension is a record under this policy, and the 194-game suspension upheld after Bauer’s appeal remains the longest in history.
The suspension cost Bauer $37.5 million in salary, but he’s expected to receive about $22 million of his $35.3 million this year. His greatest loss may not be financial.
It’s more likely than not that Bauer pitched in his last major league game. At least we know one team decided to wash his hands. He will soon be 32. It will take 29 more clubs to decide if the benefits of a short-season Cy Young Award winner are worth the reputational damage. Perhaps, as part of their reckoning, seeing Bauer pitching for or against his favorite team acknowledges the feelings of a woman who would otherwise ruin a carefree day at the ballpark. There will even be people.
To be clear, this is not meant to be NFL bad, MLB good practice.
But the Bauer sweeping major league environment, while modest, illustrates the cultural shift that has taken place between the league and its franchises. is also clear.
Bauer is a very good pitcher and would upgrade anyone’s rotation. That’s why the Dodgers gave him his $102 million contract in February 2021. Even if his right-handed nature caused more red flags than his 188-plus laps at Talladega.
Many Dodgers fans expressed displeasure when Bauer was signed and held their noses when he pitched. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman claimed the club did its homework on Bauer. Now Friedman has one more year to maneuver the ramifications of the most ill-advised deal of his illustrious career.
Bauer took administrative leave in July 2021 after a California woman sought a five-year protection order against him. The woman was treated in hospital for injuries to her face and vagina.
The protective order was eventually revoked in August 2021, and after a seven-month review of the charges, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office chose not to press charges. But sports are too often a reminder of the difficulty of prosecuting allegations of sexual assault, and no charges necessarily mean no abuse.
The concept is a cornerstone of MLB’s domestic violence policy, and has resulted in 15 domestic violence suspensions and only one conviction since 2015.
A Washington Post report reveals that an Ohio woman received a temporary protection order against Bauer in June 2020 for injuries sustained in a 2017 encounter and threatening text messages. After that, the dossier against Bauer would expand.
Bauer has denied all allegations, stating that the encounter with the California woman was “fully consensual” and he has not been charged with a crime. You have created a public record far larger than the offenders.
After the county chose not to prosecute in February 2022, the league office deliberated on the discipline for nearly three more months before suspending Bauer on April 29. Bauer appealed the suspension. bottom.
On December 22, an arbitrator jointly appointed by MLB and the union agreed that the policy had been violated and largely agreed to the terms of the penalty. In short, a ten-month long league investigation followed by his nearly eight months of arbitrator deliberations determined that an unprecedented period of suspension was justified.
The typically jarring Bauer was slightly reserved in his responses, focusing on his reinstatement rather than the time offered. continue bidding for
At this point, to say that the accusations against Bauer are dismissed outright means that you’ll likely never trust women.
Watson’s case is different from Bauer’s on so many levels, but his NFL future rests on the same concept.
When you see Watson play quarterback, can you not think of the 20 massage therapists who came forward with disturbing allegations against him? How would they feel to see him elated, if only?
According to RAINN, 1 in 6 American women are victims of rape or attempted rape, can a sexual assault victim start a game involving Watson or Bauer without reopening old wounds?
Sadly, the fate of these men’s livelihoods ultimately comes down to business. It seems to hold up to any stains that might come your way.
Specifically, it remains to be seen if Watson is a repellent on a local or global scale.NFL viewership is down 3% from last year’s figures, according to a Forbes report. The NFL, largely due to Thursday’s shift from networks to streaming night games, will deflect accusations from both Watson and a congressional report on sexual misconduct in the Washington Commanders organization.
But creating an unwelcome environment for women is bad business, even if you’re sticking strictly to your balance sheet instead of, say, basic decency.
Now find out if Bauer is too toxic for the other 29 teams. The other 29 teams can wait for Bauer to clear waivers and sign him for a minimum of $720,000. The Dodgers are doing just fine without him, a year burning with decent if not essential prospects to replace him with Max Scherzer, and multiple midfield pitching careers to make up for the difference next. was rehabilitated.
And perhaps that is the reality Bauer now faces, and the lesson we learned during Watson’s one-year absence. You are almost guaranteed to get the money. Complaints can be made as loud and often as you like.
But I will never miss you.