With the start of training camp today down in West Virginia, which makes today the unofficial start to the 2023 football season. Hard to believe, but there are just over two weeks until the Browns and Jets play in the Hall of Fame Game down in Canton. This fact has had me debating with myself about this upcoming season and about one player in particular, the starting quarterback for our Browns, Deshaun Watson.
Everything bad that is and has been attached to Watson’s name over the last few years is well known by almost everyone, even those who really aren’t into sports, so I am going to rehash all of that. What I have been going back and forth with is a pretty huge question for me, and I am sure I am not the only one pondering the same thing. Is it possible to still love the team I was born and raised to love, but still despise your team’s starting quarterback? After all, rooting for the team’s success is rooting for his success too.
Even though he was somehow never charged with any wrongdoings, it is well known that people’s opinions do not always need proof or a conviction of any kind to automatically convict them in their minds. For me, it is hard to even see Watson without thinking that the guy is at the very least a creep and hate that he is the face of my favorite team. Although football players shouldn’t be someone that kids look up to, kids have looked up to players since the beginning of time, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.
I am raising my newly adopted son Sebastian to be a Browns fan just like me, but am I wrong in doing that? What am I teaching him by rooting for the team with Watson as the lead character so to speak? He’s 11 years old, do I need to tell him a very PG rated version of this whole story and make this an educational moment on how to treat women as a young man growing up in this society?
I know many men in the sports and entertainment world has a shoddy history of some sort, but people overlook the bad that they have done, or were alleged of, and just saw them as a sports player or a singer, or whatever occupation they had. Michael Jackson was on the top of that list for me. We all knew what he allegedly did, and most people considered him creepy, but a lot like me said “I know he’s a creep, but what a talent!” Browns great Jim Brown had a checkered past, but sports fans overlooked that, especially over the last few decades. Ex Browns running back, and Willoughby native Kareem Hunt got released from the Kansas City Chiefs because of an altercation with a female, however I hardly heard a word from Browns fans about this once he signed with the Browns.
Should we give that same way of thought to Deshaun Watson? Should we just look at him as a football player, and not as a man who allegedly committed sex crimes? A bigger question is CAN we just look at him as just a football player and be able to root for him to lead our favorite team to the playoffs this season?
If I am being honest with you, I would have to say I am torn. I love the Browns and have treated them like family since I was a very young boy. I want to continue rooting for them just like my dad raised me to do, and I know come Browns Sunday’s, that I will root for them no matter how hard I try not to. Can I bring myself to root for Watson himself? At this moment I can’t say I will be able to do that. Will that change somewhere down the line? Not sure. Can you root for someone you don’t like? I will find out.
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