The Miami Dolphins received a punishment this past week that some believe was harsher than the Deshaun Watson ruling. But was the punishment harsher for the Dolphins because of the Deshaun Watson situation?
I won’t sit here and try to shift the blame away from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross because let’s be honest, he and Bruce Beal are the only reasons we’re in this mess. For a moment, though, let’s ask ourselves about the timing of the release of the punishment. We all knew Cleveland Browns Quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s league-issued punishment would probably come before the regular season kickoff.
Was Deshaun Watson The Reason For Dolphins Harsh Punishment?
Tons of speculation took place about what retired Federal Judge Sue Robinson would rule once all evidence was observed. The night before the ruling was issued, the NFLPA issued a statement that ended with the sentence “This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we will call on the NFL to do the same.”
Our joint statement with Deshaun Watson on the impending arbitration decision: pic.twitter.com/9ObLnHiX6J — NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 31, 2022
NFLPA issued this statement prior to Federal Judge Sue Robinson’s ruling
Similar In Ruling, Different Entirely
When she issued her ruling of six games, while simultaneously saying Deshaun’s actions were “more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL,” fans on social media were torn. Some thought it should be more, some thought it should be less, and some thought he shouldn’t have been punished at all (Browns twitter is a different place y’all). Regardless of what you thought the outcome should be, we all knew the ruling was coming.
I don’t think the same can be said for the Dolphin’s punishment for tampering in 2019 with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (then New England Patriots) quarterback Tom Brady, and now retired New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. Back in February of this year when the news broke about Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the Dolphins, there wasn’t much speculation floating around about punishment from the league.
You didn’t hear about it on ESPN or CBS sports every day when you were just trying to enjoy your morning coffee. There truly wasn’t a lot of mainstream media coverage that would give you any insight into the NFL’s investigation. There were no leaks from the league office that would give you the slightest idea of what Roger Goodell was thinking.
Connecting The Dots
I believe that was all for good reason, and don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that the day after Watson’s punishment was handed out, the NFL decided to strip the Dolphins of a 1st round pick in 2023, a 3rd round pick in 2024. I’d act more upset about Stephen Ross and Bruce Beal’s suspension and fine, but any time they seem to get involved with football operations, crap hits the fan. So be gone, Ross.
I believe Roger Goodell and the front office are trying to move their pawns to set up for their next move, the Watson case. In the past, league owners were pretty much seen as untouchable. They ran their organizations the way they saw fit and if that means its riddled with sexual assault and misogyny, then welcome to the Washington Commanders.
If an owner wanted to get away with something, they would pull the same thing the NFL does when it comes to an investigation. “We’ve investigated ourselves and have cleared ourselves of any wrongdoing.” Now, the league is trying to set a precedent with Watson, but that starts with the Dolphins. If the league doesn’t punish Ross, like so many other owners before him, then it gives Watson’s legal strategy a metaphorical leg to stand on. But if six games are the baseline for tampering, the punishment for sexually assaulting 25 plus women must be higher, right? RIGHT?!
All Hope Isn’t Lost
With the league appealing Sue Robinson’s ruling to Peter C. Harvey, former attorney general of New Jersey, the NFL world holds its breath as we wait to see just how much of the owner’s dirty laundry will get exposed. Luckily, the Dolphins hold the 49ers first round pick next April, so not all is lost, and we won’t have to endure the long finless first round as we did this year. Everyone can think what they want, but I’ll argue until my face turns blue that at any other point in time, Miami gets rid of Ross for a few weeks (maybe even for good) and probably loses a third.
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