The Cleveland Browns
In my lifetime alone (almost 38 years — ugh!) the Browns have never been short of providing entertainment, mostly in bad ways, but still the amount of PR work done over the last two decades is quite something. This past offseason was no different, the Browns and their franchise QB, Baker Mayfield were at a crossroads. It was up in the air whether Mayfield would continue as QB of the team heading into the 2022 season. This coming after a rather tumultuous season in which Mayfield was injured and forced himself to play, much to the detriment of the team.
As the NFL combine came to a close and the league’s trade season inched closer, word started to spread that the Browns advised Baker and his team they would be exploring other opportunities at QB, which happened to include Deshaun Watson. Yes, the same Deshaun Watson who was recently acquitted of any criminal charges from 22 different women. It was a weird timeline due to the off field matters blaring loudly and the Browns being the Browns and having a reputation of never reading the room properly. As the trade season went along, it appeared the Watson pursuit was failing, then Baker demanded to be traded, and then out of nowhere, Watson decided Cleveland was his next destination. This all happened in a business week and I can’t recall a crazier, bizarre, and weird sequence of events, outside of Lebron’s Decision in 2010 and maybe even his return in 2014.
So the Browns now have Deshaun Watson as their new QB, Baker will most likely be traded; and the team will continue to go after other free agents and prep for the draft in 5 weeks. I gotta say, this news was weird to me. I wasn’t as excited, mostly shocked and just unsure of everything. From a football perspective the Browns got WAY better at the QB position, but the off field matters are such a crutch its very tough to be like ‘Yay’. It’s one of those awkward reactions you have when you would much prefer to leave the situation. It’s like trying to celebrate someone you know being married for the 3rd or 4th time and hoping it works, but in your head, its like oy vey.
There are morals out there that people will follow, but for professional sports where is the moral line? What if Watson leads the Browns to the Super Bowl? What if he wins the Super Bowl? What if he goes down as the best QB ever in franchise history? Do we set aside morals or stand firm? Forgive and forget? Its tough all around and I don’t have many answers. For all the questions I asked above, what if the opposite happens. What if he stinks? This whole huge contract blows up? The Browns are again the laughingstock of the league. It is a weird situation as I noted above as well, I can’t stop repeating it and quite frankly its going to be one big distraction unless the Browns get ahead of it.
It would be in Browns best interest so address this head on and not have PR step in. Dee Haslem, as a women, should lead the pledge with Deshaun at her side in supporting violence against women and rehabbing his image. Granted Deshaun should be doing this himself, but the Browns paid 230 million dollars, they should be right by his side. Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski and even Jimmy Haslem should answer the tough questions. It will suck, people still won’t like the answers, but in times like these if an organization takes on heated moral/ethical issues like this head on, minds can change, maybe those who vowed not be Browns fans ever again, will come back. The Browns have to prepare for this, they have to know this is coming. Any bad game Watson has, questions will arise. ANY issues surrounding him will be scrutinized and it won’t be just Cleveland media, it will be national media. The NFL will do its part (I’m sure Watson will be suspended a handful of games), but the Browns have to take the lead on this and not hide. Just paying attention to football side of it, won’t cut it. GO BROWNS!!