TAKING A STAND

Holly Seymour: Have a problem with NFL players and the National Anthem? Look in the mirror

People should look at the good NFL players do before judging them. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The concern with the controversy surrounding the NFL and its anthem “protest” is going nowhere. Now, re read that first line. Because the controversy isn’t the “protest.” In fact, it’s not the anthem or the players either.

The controversy is within you. Let me further elaborate on this before you stop reading.

Malcolm Jenkins recently sat down with Lester Holt of NBC to discuss everyday issues in America. He gives an example stating how the players and we, the viewers, allow so many different causes to be acknowledged peacefully throughout the season. Military appreciation, breast cancer awareness, domestic violence are just naming a few.

All of these topics are sensitive and can be perceived from different views. So how is it that having an opinion on human rights is any different? If you have an issue on either side of this “protest,” maybe you should take the time to research instead of resulting to hate so easily.

In fact, these same players that people get offended by are the same guys that you see being active members of your very own community. Chris Long gave his ENTIRE 2017 season paycheck to charity, DeShaun Watson donated his holiday pay to workers inside of NRG, Patrick Peterson created the “Foundation of Success” to help provide resources and materials to low income and inner city youth, and as much as no one likes the Cowboys, they work year round with charities throughout the city of Dallas. I can go on for hours telling you about the acts of kindness and time these players give back to try to make a difference in this country.

Let me guess, some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “They make millions, it’s the least they can do.” You are probably the same morons that actually believe boycotting the most popular sport in America will change anything. And if this is you, YOU are the controversy. YOU are the problem.  

I’m the first one to tell say, “I’m just ready for some football. Screw the politics.” However, all jokes aside, I feel it is important that we see beyond just the game of football. I’ll admit, when this story first broke two years ago, it took me a minute to educate myself.

I suggest you take a moment to do the same.   

 

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Should Watson be in the MVP conversation? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The 2020 NFL season has a lot going on. Even if we take the coronavirus out of it, there's still a lot to digest. There are so many great performances being put up, one can make an argument for several players to win league MVP. The quarterback position typically gets more credit than others. If I restrict the argument to quarterbacks only, we're looking at Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry are the leading contenders at running back. On defense, there really isn't a standout defender. The defense gets no love, but there are several guys in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Deshaun Watson has been putting up numbers that have matched or rivaled some of the top MVP candidates over his last seven games. That stretch has coincided with the firing of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. Coincidence? I think not. Taking the reigns off a wild horse can often lead to said horse running free and flourishing! So question: Should Watson be getting league MVP considerations? I think so.

For starters, he's been one of the best players in the league over the course of the last seven games. 18 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. The only quarterback with a better touchdown to interception ratio over that same span is Mahomes (19 and 2, as opposed to Watson's 18 & 2). Factoring in total season stats, of course Mahomes is doing much better. He's on a better team with a much better coach and general manager. The same could be said for Wilson and Rodgers. Put Watson on any of those teams and their records wouldn't be any worse than what they are now.

The Texans are 4-3 since firing O'Brien. While that isn't a great record, consider the fact they started the season 0-4 and looked like a total disaster. Watson looked like he was caged and couldn't wait to be freed. The team's record could be even better if the defense had a pulse. The proper supporting cast has a lot to do with a player's MVP candidate's chances. Now that one of his favorite weapons, Will Fuller, and the team's best corner, Bradley Roby, are both suspended for the rest of the season by the league for violating the substance abuse/PED policy, things will get much tougher for Watson.

If he continues to put up these cartoon like numbers, I don't see why he wouldn't be in the MVP conversation. He's currently fopurth in passing yards, sixth in completion percentage, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in QBR, and third in quarterback rating. Watson is emerging as the star he was projected to be coming into the 2017 draft. I'm not saying Watson deserves to be the league MVP, but he deserves to be in the conversation. His MVP candidacy should be treated like the family gathering hierarchy: once you reach a certain age and/or status, you're no longer resigned to the kiddie table. Now you get to sit with all the adults, engage in their conversations, and gain access to things you couldn't previously. Watson won't win the MVP award, but I strongly believe he could finish top five. Especially if he keeps making lemonade with the lemons he's been given.

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