Tonight, on Thursday Night Football — the third day of the week that the NFL is trying to conquer — the worst sports league when it comes to handling crises will showcase one of its most problematic teams, whose even-more problematic quarterback will be the main topic of discussion despite not being on the field and out of sight for weeks.
“Why y’all always filming me every day? It’s the same shit,” said Deshaun Watson to the media as he arrived to practice on August 12. For some reason, the fourth-highest paid player in the league couldn’t understand why reporters kept wanting to see or hear him as both he and the Texans have been all but silent about the 22 sexual misconduct lawsuits against him.
And it’s not like Watson is an idiot. He’s really smart. Remember when he broke down a complicated NFL defense in a way that even a casual fan could understand?
Watson just doesn’t want to acknowledge what’s been going on since March, which is something that his team does quite often. In the same way that Watson doesn’t want to act like he isn’t the guy all of his alleged victims claim him to be, the Texans have acted like racism hasn’t ruined their franchise.
To start this year off, Texans owner Cal McNair — son of the late Bob McNair, who once doubled down on his criticism of Black players taking a knee, saying that he “can’t have the inmates running the prison” — paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a search firm to help the team fill its general manager vacancy, according to an ESPN report. But instead of hiring one of the two candidates of color presented to them — Omar Khan and Louis Riddick — the younger McNair ignored the firm’s recommendations and hired Nick Caserio, a white man. This is also the same franchise that hired (and fired) Bill O’Brien, a coach who allegedly made insensitive comments to DeAndre Hopkins during a meeting about his “baby mamas,” which is coded language used to deride Black people. O’Brien also decided to trade Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in the league, to Arizona for basically nothing.
Just before the Texans and Panthers kick off tonight, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will more than likely mention Watson’s absence and water down his sexual misconduct allegations as “off-the-field issues.” And when that happens, it will be a sad and pathetic moment. Not because two men who aren’t equipped to discuss this topic on national TV are treating it as a promo they’re contractually obligated to read, but because this situation has become so bad that they’re the only ones with a microphone who can address a national audience, as the Texans and Watson have remained silent — trying to ignore the elephant in the room.
When the Texans and Chiefs started the 2020 season by playing on Thursday night, they were booed by the crowd for locking arms and having a moment of unity after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I hope those same people are in attendance tonight so that they can boo the Texans’ front office and Deshaun Watson — wherever he is.