There are things to fight for as a player. But this Deshaun Watson fight is a total farce.
The only thing more confusing than Watson’s stance is the support he’s getting from current and former players turned analysts. It goes against everything football is about.
We thought it was about the team, not an individual.
Somehow, that has been lost here.
For some reason, Watson is so upset that the Houston Texans didn’t allow him to be involved in the process of hiring a new general manager and coach that he’s officially asked to be traded.
If Watson wants to be mad at Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair for saying they would involve him in front office affairs and they didn’t, that’s fair. Shame on McNair for not keeping his word.
Still, it was dumb from the outset.
The best-case scenario is to keep a star player in the loop so they know what you’re doing and why. It isn’t a situation of asking a player for permission, it would just be common courtesy.
The outrage of not being consulted seems extreme.
But NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin, former Texans star receiver Andre Johnson and Fox NFL analyst Greg Jennings all loudly back Watson’s quest for influence. “It’s a mess and it’s on them,” Jennings told Fox’s The Herd.
Jennings added, “He’s done any and everything they’ve asked him to do. The one thing he wanted to be included in, they excluded him.”
Let’s be honest. Watson can’t possibly know who are the best and most qualified people in NFL America to be the team’s GM. This seems like it’s not worth fighting about.
On the coaching side, it makes more sense for Watson to care about who is coming in. That coach will be there for all 53 players, not just the quarterback.
And in the case of Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, it made sense for Watson to want his team to interview him.
Somehow, Bieniemy has had 13 interviews and has yet to be offered a head coach job. It’s still a mystery. It could be racism. It could be that he’s not impressive explaining his vision for a football team.
And trying to link this to player empowerment in the NBA is also a reach. Sure, LeBron James and Kevin Durant decided to move to teams that they felt would be better for their careers.
The biggest difference is that they were free agents when they bolted.
That was their right. That’s what MLB’s Curt Flood gave up his career for: the right for players to be free and move around to a better situation.
The time for Watson to make a stink should have been before he took the Texans’ four-year, $160-million contract extension that pays him roughly $40 million a season.
It would have been impressive to see him balk then, tell ownership thanks, but no thanks. The people who gave Watson that mega payday that he now has no confidence in are one in the same.
There has been no sale of the team to different folks.
And the DeAndre Hopkins angle doesn’t work, either.
Watson signed his new deal after the Texans traded Hopkins, his best receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals.
And even if you point to the James Harden case in Houston with the Rockets, ownership offered Harden an extra $50-million extension. Harden, not happy with the team’s direction, didn’t take the money and asked to be traded. He could have easily done a slimy money grab and then still forced his way out of town.
In the NBA, a single super-talented player can make a huge difference. You can have a talented QB putting up Hall of Fame numbers and still be Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. The combo has no playoff wins in 12 seasons. A great QB isn’t a guarantee to winning, let alone a Lombardi trophy.
And, somehow, the No.1 team on his list to go to is the New York Jets. We thought Watson wanted to win and join an ownership group you can trust to make the right moves.
The Jets aint it. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969.
The Dolphins are another team on his list. Let’s see. Dan Marino made one Super Bowl with that organization in 17 seasons.
This Watson fight is misplaced, and misguided.
If only NFL players were willing to back better healthcare for themselves this hard. Now that fight with ownership would be worth it.