Deshaun Watson and Colin Kaepernick are currently at the heart of one of the hottest disputes in the NFL today. The two quarterbacks currently find themselves in very different situations, which many people find outrageous.
While Kaepernick remains a polarizing figure for many fans following his protests on racial brutality and equality, Watson has found his way back to prominence in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns decided that his talent on the field outweighed the 22 pending civil lawsuits against him for sexual misconduct and offered him the largest guaranteed contract extension in NFL history.
League officials recently met with the player as they near the conclusion of their internal investigation into the matter. Most analysts are more preoccupied with the question of how long the suspension will be for, rather than if there is one coming.
The saga has been ongoing for more than a year and at least one NFL analyst believes it is the biggest issue in the league.
The Issues at Heart: Colin Kaepernick and Deshaun Watson
Chris Simms appeared on NBC and gave his opinion on the matter. Here's what he said:
“I'm truly interested in this one just because, of course, it's Deshaun Watson... A troubling few years, whether it's true or not, there's definitely some shadyness. So why are you talking to so many masseuses? Anyways, there's some of that there, even if not guilty."
There has been a change in America after the #MeToo movement and the optics of this deal are bad for the league. Though he does not face a criminal conviction, the civil lawsuit is still pending and the volumes are staggering.
In relation to this, Simms went on to say:
"Then, of course, the huge contract that we've discussed. It looks weird. The optics, as we discussed, when he first signed with the Cleveland Browns, hey, you're the biggest issue in the league right now. It really is. He's the biggest issue in the league. Hey, here's the greatest contract in the history of the NFL.”
While Watson has the biggest guaranteed contract in NFL history, Kaepernick remains without a contract of any kind.
While the NFL has stressed it supports racial solidarity in the wake of George Floyd's murder, Kaepernick is still without a team. While the NFL claims to support women, Watson gets a guaranteed $230,000,000. It is important to note that these statements do not necessarily correlate, but nethertheless, the contradiction is jarring.
Many argue that Kaepernick's performance in his final few seasons for the San Francisco 49ers is what is keeping him out of the league. Others suggest that such a polarizing figure represents too great a fiscal risk to be signed by a franchise. Whether it is one or the other or a combination of both, Watson is surely now with him in the category of polarizing quarterbacks.
In a nation where you are innocent until proven guilty, perhaps the Browns should have waited until the courts and the NFL reached their verdicts. Conjecture is all well and good, but the reality is this: one of these quarterbacks is without a job and the other is getting $230,000,000.