Another Manager Bites The Dust…

The month of June has not been kind to MLB managers named “Joe”.  Yesterday I commented on the Phillies “moving on” from Joe Girardi; yesterday, the Angels relieved Joe Maddon of his managerial duties.  The Angels hit a terrible stretch recently; after starting the season 21-11 and being only a game out of first place in the AL West, the Angels have gone 6-18 since then including having lost their last 12 games in a row.

As was the case with Girardi and the Phillies, much of this is not the manager’s fault.  The team’s last loss was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Red Sox.  Managers are like starting pitchers, they will not win any games where their team scores no runs…

Switching gears dramatically, I want to talk today about the Deshaun Watson situation.  For the last year or so, the litany has been that he stood accused by 22 female massage therapists of sexual assault and improper behavior(s).  Over the last two weeks, that number of accusers has grown to an even two dozen.  Watson missed all of 2021 as the NFL proceeded to “investigate” the situation; in the off-season, the Texans traded Watson to the Browns for a ton of high and middle round draft picks over a three-year period; and then, the Browns gave him a fully guaranteed contract worth as much as $230M.

Before I get into my own view of the matter, let me tell  you where I stand based on what I have read and heard about all of this:

  • The DA in Houston has investigated and has chosen not to bring criminal charges against Watson.  Does that mean Watson never did anything wrong?  Absolutely not.  He is innocent in the eyes of the law – – but that has no bearing on what he may have actually done here.
  • Do I believe that all 24 women are giving full and accurate accounts of what happened between Watson and them?  Might there be a “gold-digger or two” in the mix there?  Very possible – – but without a court proceeding where testimony will be given under oath, the best anyone can do is to deal with a gut reaction here.
  • Conversely, do I believe that all 24 women are lying through their teeth and that Deshaun Watson is a victim of their lies and slander?   Highly unlikely – – but without a court proceeding where testimony will be given under oath, the best anyone can do is to deal with a gut reaction here.

At some point soon, the NFL – in the person of Roger Goodell – will have to take whatever information their investigation turns up and add it to the things that are in the public record in all of these matters and use all of that to decide if Deshaun Watson deserves a suspension and if so for how long.  And that brings me to a rhetorical question:

  • Should the MLB handling of the sexual assault allegations against Trevor Bauer be any sort of yardstick for the NFL in the Deshaun Watson matter?

Two women had accused Bauer of sexual assault when MLB Commish Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for 2  full seasons.  Subsequent to that decision a third woman came forth with additional allegations, but those “new ones” were presumably unknown to MLB as its suspension decision was constructed.  Watson now faces 24 accusers and there is some similarity also in the fact that many of the allegations convey lurid details of what happened or did not happen.  One of the adages of jurisprudence – – and parenting ironically – – is that the punishment should fit the crime.  Remember, there is no actual “crime” here; the existence of a “crime” can only be determined in a court of law by a jury of the accused’s peers.  Nonetheless, many people might be looking for “parity” here.

Roger Goodell is in a delicate position.  He suffered plenty of ill will and scorn for his leniency in the Ray Rice Incident – – but on the other hand, the NFL has precedent on the books of only a half-season suspension for vehicular homicide by a player.  Compare that to the recently handed down suspension of one full season to Calvin Ridley who bet $1500 on some parlays of NFL games when he was on the IL.

If Goodell only suspends Watson for 8 or 9 games, women’s rights activists will shriek that he has been too lenient once again.  I can hear it now:

  • Twenty-four incidents of sexual assault is only half as bad as a $1500 parlay bet on NFL games.
  • Run this man out of town on a rail after you tar and feather him…

Absent any sort of criminal charges and findings by a court in any/all of those criminal charges, the NFL is going to do whatever it does under the aura of Public Relations – – and if there is a way for the NFL to come out looking good in that light, it is surely not clear to me.  Roger Goodell’s critics – – and there are legions of them out there – – complain that he is making north of $40M and needs to be “tougher on crime” both for miscreant players and skeezy owners who engage in their own version(s) of slimeball behaviors.  All I can say, is that Roger Goodell is going to earn his money trying to navigate his way through this PR minefield.

Since I posed a rhetorical question above, let me try a second one today:

  • In what other field of endeavor might one be engaged where you have two dozen women who accuse you publicly and specifically of sexually assaulting them and where the “consequences” to you are to continue in your field of endeavor with a huge raise?

I can only think of three such occupations:

  1. Rock Star/Rapper
  2. Professional Athlete
  3. Elected politician

Finally, the Denver Broncos are up for sale; according to the latest reports, Rob Walton will be the winner of the bidding war for the team and that he will pay $4.5B for the franchise.  Shed no tears, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates Walton’s net worth to be $57.9B.  However, I wonder if Messr. Walton has done sufficient due diligence here:

  • Has he learned that the players on his team – and all the players involved in the league – are represented by a union? 
  • If so, why is he still interested in buying the team?

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..



6 thoughts on “Another Manager Bites The Dust…”

  1. The NFL is in a no win position with Watson. He has a guaranteed contract with the Browns and may never have to face the music in court. He could settle all 24 suits with nondisclosure agreements.

    1. Doug:

      And Roger Goodell is going to take the blame for their being in that “no-win situation” …

  2. There is one aspect of this that differs from most, if not all, of the other situations. Obviously, RG is hired by the owners to protect the owners, to serve the owners and, most importantly, allow the owners to make tons of money. In none of the other situations did one owner upset the apple cart as the owner of the Browns did by giving a QB of unquestionable talent but very questionable character so large a contract…100% GUARANTEED… perhaps 31 of the 32 team owners are not happy with the Haslams and how the contract with Mr. Happy Ending has affected our will affect all other QB contracts and would be providing not so subtle pressure on RG to make this penalty significantly stronger than in other situations.

    1. Gary:

      Could well be the case – – but it is still a messy situation for the Commish.

      1. I do think that the most significant factor will be whether the other 31 owners are more in the “I’m so pissed at the Haslams” camp or the “but for the grace of God, it could be my quarterback” camp

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