Every-Thing Sports

Who/What Does Bill O'Brien Remind Me Of?

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Back at the beginning of December, I wrote my column on Bill O'Brien. "Time for Bill O'Brien to bleep or get off the pot" was written after they beat the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. In the opening paragraph, I called him the Grand Poobah of all things Texans. After the "reassigning" of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and firing of Senior Vice President of Football Administration Chris Olsen, O'Brien's power has gotten to a point in which it seems only a disaster of epic proportions could possibly remove him from power.

The Texans became the first team in NFL history to lose a playoff game by 20-plus after being ahead by 20-plus. Not even that abysmal failure was enough for the McNairs to relieve him of his duties. Him only having to answer to Cal McNair and Cal not saying anything about O'Brien's piss poor performance tells me just how powerful O'Brien is. He reminds me of several historical figures who amassed great power and/or wealth, despite being a bad person:

John Gotti

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Dubbed the "Teflon Don" for any charges brought against him to stick, Gotti took over as the boss of the Gambino family, one of the top Italian mob families in the country. He did so by murdering his predecessor and his next in line effectively seizing power by eliminating those ahead of him in the chain of command. O'Brien has done the same thing by getting rid of any and everyone in his way. Gotti was eventually caught, convicted, and died of cancer in prison. I know Texans fans are hoping for a similar fate for O'Brien.

Frank Lucas

Public Domain

Frank Lucas came to mind when thinking of those who rose to power by nefarious means. He was a small time criminal until Bumpy Johnson took him under his wing. Known as the Godfather of Harlem, Johnson was plugged into the Italian mob and served as their Harlem representative for heroin sales and distribution. When Johnson died of a heart attack, Lucas took over. Eventually, Lucas found a way to cut the Italian mob out when he discovered a direct line to heroin from Asia. Lucas was eventually caught and convicted, then snitched on over 100 others. Bill Belichick was O'Brien's Johnson. However, he's yet to find his own path.

Al Capone

fbi.gov

Al "Scarface" Capone was the co-founder of the Chicago arm of the Italian mob. He was one of the first famous gangsters back in the 1920s and 1930s. He ordered the infamous "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" in which he ordered the murders of seven members of a rival gang on Chicago's Northside in an attempt to eliminate the competition. This earned him "Public Enemy #1" moniker in the newspapers. He was ultimately jailed on income evasion charges of all things. He died at age 48 from complications of syphilis. When one thinks of how much blood-letting O'Brien has done, one could only hope something small and simple brings him down as well. He's become "famous" for being a buffoon of a coach and de facto GM, yet having complete power and authority.

Omar from HBO's "The Wire"

HBO.com

Omar Little was a fictional character from a tv show that most regard as one of the best shows ever. He was the guy who robbed the drug dealers as well as extorted them. The fact that Omar was gay only played a part in his character's story when one of his lovers was brutally murdered to get back at him. When Omar hit the block, even the most hardcore gangsters ran. He ended up testifying against an enemy (snitched) and sent him to jail, but wasn't killed because of it. What actually killed him was a kid, Kenard, who shot him in the head at a corner store. Too bad the Chiefs loss or the Jadeveon Clowney debacle didn't "Kenard" O'Brien.

These men have ultimately met their demise one way or another. What's curious is how so often their ends are met by unseen means. None of them died in a drawn out gun battle and only Gotti died in prison. While Omar is fictional, his death at the hands of a child was not something anyone saw coming. Lucas was a snitch who lived long enough to see movies made about him and died at age 88. Capone was the peculiar one who died from an STD after being jailed for not paying taxes. Different endings for different men, but all of them were eventually taken out. O'Brien will be taken out as well. The question remains: what will take him out? Will it be him retiring and walking away similarly to Lucas, or will he be taken out by a Kenard (Ex: trading premium draft capital for Laremy Tunsil, but not resigning him)?

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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