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Why are other NFL owners mad at the Cleveland Browns?

From inconsisten standards to suspect reversals of punishments, are NFL owners and the league itself in the best position to criticize the Browns and their QB?

Why are other NFL owners mad at the Cleveland Browns?
Nick CammettAFP

With the Browns QB currently the center of attention following a ruling against him and a subsequent NFL appeal of his suspension, it goes without saying that the franchise is under the microscope and interestingly enough, for reasons other than their signal caller.

Is there a double standard in the NFL?

When it comes to discipline and sanctions, the NFL has proven itself to be somewhat of a puzzling case study. On the one hand, the league has shown a willingness to completely blacklist players, thereby resulting in them ceasing to play. Remember Ray Rice who was left out in the cold after he was charged with abuse as a result of video footage which show him uppercutting his wife in an elevator. Yet on the other side there have been players who were perennial rule breakers who have been given a free pass. Then of course we have Colin Kaepernick who was axed for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. The out of work QB would later sue the league and win, but he remains without a team. This is all to say that the league’s stance on problematic players and the disciplining of them has been less than consistent and more importantly, not always fair.

This of course brings us to the case of the Cleveland Browns owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam. Given what we discussed above, it’s clear owners reserve the right to hire who they want and regardless of circumstances. That, however, is a curious thing in that according to reports, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are “not the most popular people” at the moment. Why that is centers around - ironically - the trade for their now suspended quarterback and the contract that he was offered.

Why is Deshaun Watson’s contract a problem for the NFL

At the heart of the issue that the NFL owners have with the Browns, is the decision to give Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed $230 million contract. As one NFL executive put it, the move “stinks to high heaven.” For the purpose of context, you will recall that the NFL’s management council urged teams to avoid guaranteeing players such large-scale contracts, because it could potentially destabilize the market going forward. Their fear, is of course that high-profile players will now want the same. If, however, we take things at face value, the real issue here is that NFL’s owners are unhappy with the Browns because they gave a player with 24 civil suits against him an $80 million raise. It should be said, that despite his six-game suspension, Watson has faced no criminal charges, however, as one can imagine it’s not a good look.

What happens now with the Browns and Watson?

While it’s clear that the Browns’ handling of Watson’s contract is an issue for other franchise owners, there are a few questions that remain unanswered. Are they upset because they may soon have to pay their own players more money? Are they unhappy with the Browns because they gave an alleged sexual predator not only a second chance but more money to boot? Last but not least, which ever option you choose are they justified given their own inconsistent record when it comes to players who crossed a line? At this point, all we can do is wait and see how it all shakes out.