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Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab share their thoughts on how long Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will eventually be suspended by the National Football League. Watson is facing 24 civil lawsuits accusing the QB of misconduct, and in some cases sexual assault. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: How many games will Deshaun Watson be suspended? I'll let you intro into that.
FRANK SCHWAB: I have fully leaned it. And I'm probably going to be high on this. I guess two years. I think it's full two years because a few reasons here, Charles. You could pick apart every one of these. You're probably going to be right. But here's what I'm thinking.
I think that the contract shenanigans the Browns had-- we're going to give you a $1 million base salary. I get it, like, those are how NFL contracts are structured. But this was not a normal NFL contract. And you're making the NFL look dumb. And the NFL is not taking kindly to that.
The NFL does not like being made a fool of. And you are making them look like a fool if you're like, well, we're just going to get around your discipline. We're just going to give them a $1 million base. And then it bumps up to 28 million next year. They don't like that.
Two, Trevor Bauer. I think Trevor Bauer really plays here. Trevor Bauer, for those who don't know, Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher, did not get criminally convicted of anything but still got two years from Major League Baseball. If Deshaun Watson gets any less than two years from the NFL, every single person with a Twitter account is going to say the NFL doesn't even care.
Look, the MLB gave Trevor Bauer two years. Why can't the NFL give him two years? Everybody's going to say that. And I also think this is a situation where the NFL, which has been pounded over and over and over on this issue, they can make an example of this guy.
They know that there's no public sentiment for Deshaun Watson. If you give him two years, everybody's going to maybe not pat you on the back, but they're at least not going to rip you. Let the union be the bad guy. And yes, it's an egregious, crazy, long suspension. Let the union be the bad guy. Let them fight this thing.
You don't want to get [INAUDIBLE]-- over what? Over Deshaun Watson? Nobody is defending Deshaun Watson right now. This to them-- and this is very cynical. I'm not talking about what's right, what's wrong. I'm just talking about the NFL is a business. The NFL is an entity.
What the NFL is looking out for is the shield. And how do they look good right here? And the NFL's going to say why not give him two years? Who's arguing? If we give him two years, the only people are going to be mad are Deshaun Watson, the Browns, and the NFLPA.
That's it. And I don't know why they wouldn't give him two full years. And I think a contract shenanigans are a big part of that too where they could say, you thought you were getting around this. We'll just give you another year. You're going to get hammered on your salary one way or another.
CHARLES ROBINSON: OK, so here's-- and I-- it's interesting because I wrote about the Trevor Bauer aspect of this a while back. And, you know, optics. Look on this.
FRANK SCHWAB: 100%.
CHARLES ROBINSON: One league doesn't have anything to do with the other. And the completely different unions and all these different things. But the optics, I would say the NFL cares far more about the optics than even Major League Baseball ever did, OK? And so or they like to pretend that they care more about the optics even though sometimes it doesn't appear they do.
I think-- so there's a couple-- I think there's two ways to look at this. Number one, I think the league could look at last year and say, well, maybe we can grease this a little bit and say, well, look, he didn't play in 2021. So that was effectively him being on the commissioner's exempt list because the Texans knew we were going to put them on the commissioner's exempt list, like, Roger came out and said with the criminal complaints in play at that time, the commissioner's examples would have applied.
So what Roger was effectively saying is he was going on if they would have tried to play him because they were weighing criminal charges. So I think the NFL could try to grease it and say, well, he was kind of suspended already in 2021. We were going to put him on the exempt list anyway, and he wouldn't have played. And that would have been our decision.
They just made the decision for us and took it out of our hands, which is fine. But we're letting you. You all know now we would have put them on the exempt list. So that could be viewed by the NFL as one year.
Now, I think they're-- depending that this keeps going the way it's going-- and I think we may already be past the threshold here-- I think it's going to be a calendar year, OK? And the reason why I say that is I think Calvin Ridley plays here from an optics standpoint because people are going to sit there and go, Calvin Ridley got suspended for a calendar year for gambling on NFL games of that parlay, which is what we know about anyway.
You know, according to Calvin Ridley, he gambled on a parlay, not any games he played on all that stuff. And he gets suspended a year. If Watson gets suspended for less than that, OK-- and let's say that they have-- let's assume for the sake of this conversation that the league has the goods to suspend him for that length, OK, right? Or they feel like it's there.
If they suspend him for less than a calendar year, people can hold up those two things and go, wait a minute. Why is Ridley a calendar year but Deshaun isn't? And what they'll do is they'll draw a line and say because what Ridley did-- [BLEEP] with the league's money.
FRANK SCHWAB: Mm-hmm.
CHARLES ROBINSON: And what Watson did, terrible awful, but it doesn't [BLEEP] with the league's money. It just doesn't. Like, the league-- if the truth is if things like this screwed with the league's money, a multitude of things in the past would not have been handled the way that they were, OK?
We wouldn't had to have gotten a videotape of Ray Rice, OK, for that to actually be rectified the way that it ultimately was, right? I mean, and I can go down the laundry list of other domestic violence or abuse or assaults. All those, there's been a multitude of them.
It does not-- the league does not see it as corrupting its money the same way that it sees a Calvin Ridley going out there and gambling at a time when the NFL is trying to embrace the financial avenues that gambling is now offering.
So I see it as being like a calendar year. And I see the league kind of wink and nudge and go, yeah, and don't forget about 2021 in playing 2021 either.