Oh, you guys are going to love this one. All credit to Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk for publicizing it because I’m not sure I would have otherwise come across it, but apparently Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson said something stupid.
Can you believe it? I know, right? Well, whether or not it was stupid is a matter of opinion, but it’s certainly an interesting choice of words given his background. Speaking about one of his new wide receivers, Elijah Moore, acquired via trade from the New York Jets, on a ‘Twitter Space’ yesterday (whatever that is), he explained how Moore was coming from a difficult place.
“As a quarterback, you’ve got to know how everyone reacts in certain situations”, Watson said, as transcribed by Florio. “And, you know, with me having a guy come from, you know, you call it how it is, a toxic situation from New York, I’ve got to make sure that mentally he’s straight, he’s motivated”.
Now, let’s recap for just a minute here. Watson was a three-time Pro Bowler before the Browns acquired him via trade last year. They were just one of many bidders, but none were willing to bid until it was ruled that no criminal charges would be filed against him.
For sexual misconduct. Dozens of counts of sexual misconduct, with dozens of accusers, some cases elevating to the level of sexual assault—rape. Granted, he hasn’t ever been charged or lost a civil suit, having settled nearly all of them out of court, but the court of public opinion outside of Cleveland has a pretty wide consensus about what they think.
It’s simply tone deaf for a player with his background to way that another player is coming from a toxic environment when many, many people would claim that he fostered a toxic environment, not only in his workplace with the Houston Texans but with the dozens of massage therapists he hired and then subsequently, allegedly, attempted to engage in sexual acts.
And the “toxic environment” Moore was coming from in New York? Apparently, a quarterback controversy, I guess, with former first-round pick Zach Wilson not exactly working out. They just made a huge trade for Aaron Rodgers, of course, who brings along his own brand of ‘environment’.
While many Browns fans have seemed to rally around Watson, he is still perhaps the most despised athlete in the NFL, maybe even in the country. I’m not sure there are many people familiar with his story who believe that he did nothing wrong—or at least that he didn’t create an environment that could be described as toxic. We know for established fact that he hired many massage therapists, with some of whom he engaged in sexual acts, since he acknowledged as much himself.
One wonders what the toxicity level is in that Browns locker room. Surely there are players in there who have opinions they feel that can’t express about the man the Browns owe the bulk of $230 million for the next four years, since they know they are less valuable.