WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE
How latest NFL barbs aimed at Watson expose league-wide hypocrisy
That's all we need, a dumb crazy comment from the ol' gunslinger Brett Favre to throw gasoline on an already flammable situation that may cost the Houston Texans our divinely talented quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Favre was asked to comment on the apparent standoff between Watson wanting to be traded from the Texans and the Texans at least saying they want to keep him.
During an interview with Yahoo Sports, Favre said, "I'm kind of old school. I think, you know, you play, you get paid a ton of money to do a certain job, and just do it, and let the chips fall where they may. I think we make too much money to voice an opinion, but I'm not saying he's wrong. Again, I think it's a different day and time, and it'll be interesting to see how the organization handles it."
You know quarterback to quarterback, except in this case it's apples to oranges.
First, Brett Favre may sound like a cranky quarterback who played in the era when they didn't wear helmets, but Favre played from 1991 to 2010, absolutely in the dizzingly big-money, free agency period of NFL football. This isn't a player from the 1940s and 1950s who got paid peanuts and had to take bartender jobs after retirement. Favre got his: $125 million over his career, not counting mega endorsement deals and acting roles.
Also, Favre wasn't one to let the chips fall where they may. After 16 years with the Green Bay Packers, while still under contract and headed to the bench, he forced his way out of Green Bay so he could sign as a free agent somewhere else. Basically he fake retired, then un-retired and then played one more year with the New York Jets and two more with the Minnesota Vikings.
He also aired his dirty laundry in public, pouting and calling Packers management "dishonest."
Let's compare: Deshaun Watson reportedly wants to be traded from the Houston Texans. He reportedly feels betrayed by team owner Cal McNair and reportedly doesn't think the team does enough for social causes dear to his heart.
Every time we present what Watson is thinking, we have to say "reportedly," because Watson isn't saying a word, other than an occasional curious tweet that doesn't directly address his desire to be traded. He isn't making his wishes a media circus.
Watson recently signed a massive $156 million contract, which sounds outlandish but really is the going rate for an NFL quarterback of his ability. But contract or not, would you want to work for an organization that lies to you and doesn't respect your opinion and doesn't seem to care about your personal happiness? And some add doesn't care about winning?
We don't know if owner Cal McNair really promised Watson that he'd be involved in the hire of the team's new general manager, but Watson believes McNair lied, ignored his preferred candidate, and didn't have the courtesy to inform Watson ahead of the announcement that McNair was hiring someone else. Watson heard about the hire of Nick Caserio on social media, just like anybody else.
McNair said he didn't inform Watson ahead of the announcement because Watson was on vacation. If only we lived in a world where telephones existed.
To be clear, Deshaun Watson is not anybody else. He is the star quarterback, and maybe the only thing keeping the Texans from being the worst team in the NFL, which they surely will become the moment he walks out the door.
Watson's agent David Mugulehta fired back at Favre's criticism of Watson. Mugulehta tweeted, "Brett should probably stop throwing stones from that glass house he's sitting in."
That's great advice. The last thing we want to see is Favre sitting in a glass house. You don't know what Favre may show you.
Yeah, I went there. Favre once was fined $50,000 for failing to cooperate with league officials investigating a sexting scandal.
Favre said pro athletes make too much money to voice an opinion. You know, the ol' "shut up and dribble." I guess that's Favre's "old school" mentality. But Favre's image of "old school" is the college you apply to in case UT says no. You don't want to go there.
Athletes today should speak up on social issues. People, especially young people, admire and hold star players in high regard. Athletes' opinions count. Athletes have the right, I believe the responsibility, to express their views on issues outside of the playing field, just as people have the right not to listen or even vote the other way.
Deshaun Watson is a role model. His rookie season in Houston he offered to pay the salaries of stadium workers who lost income during a flood. Last year he went back to Clemson to have the name of a former slave owner removed from buildings. His post-game explanations of plays are a lesson in advanced football. He is an honorable man who will not shut up and dribble.
Favre is right about one thing, this is a different day and time. Superstar athletes do have a say in how an organization operates, and it appears that the Texans didn't care about Watson's opinions and wishes. The Texans may regret that.
Some are saying that Watson's image and reputation will suffer by demanding a trade. That's not true, not in Houston, not anywhere else. Last night I watched a commercial for Frank's Hot Sauce starring Eli Manning, who refused to play for a certain team even before he was drafted.
John Elway, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Jerome Bettis, Eric Dickerson, Randy Johnson, LeBron James and many, many more have orchestrated trades or maneuvered to play for teams of their wish. The list above didn't seem to suffer too much blowback. They're either leading vote getters for the NBA All-Star Game or they're in the Hall of Fame of their respective sport.
Watson is one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in NFL history. It's true. Though we don't know for sure which teams Watson would approve a trade to, he surely will bring back a bushel of draft picks and a much, much lesser quarterback. If Texans fans were disappointed in this year's 4-12 record, just wait till next year when his less mobile, less arm strength replacement (Tua Tagovailoa, Sam Darnold or whoever) floats a fourth-quarter interception or is sacked for the 10th time that game.