Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By ALEX KUHN
Sports Editor 

Hear Me Out: Rapid fire-ish topics

 

March 24, 2022



There was a lot going on during the postseason sabbatical, plus some things that just popped up this week. So I’ll try to hit through each of these topics rapid-fire, or, as rapid as I can be.

WATSON

Refraining from any jokes, the Deshaun Watson trade isn’t surprising. Kirk Cousins is 59-59-2 all-time in his career and just got paid again, boosting his career earnings to $141,496,600. (Who says mediocrity doesn’t pay.) We all know the QB position is the most important position in the NFL. So, of course, a team desperate for a QB would trade for an elite level QB, even if said QB has 22 civil suits against him that accuse him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Once Watson was cleared of criminal charges, you knew most teams threw on the green light to go get Watson.

What’s annoying about this whole saga is Watson himself and the Browns. After that grand jury cleared Watson, Watson thanked Jesus for “letting the truth be heard.” We still do not know all the facts, especially if there’s merit to the FBI’s investigation into Watson being extorted. That said, this is wild stuff from Watson. How are you going to mention Jesus and the truth when you’re the freak and in the wrong? Sorry, allegedly the freak and in the wrong.

The FBI’s investigation into possible extortion involves one of the 22 women, just one. And as ESPN’s Bomani Jones pointed out, if you believe Watson is entirely innocent, you’re basically laying at 21-leg parlay that all of those women are liars and part of a grand conspiracy. That parlay grows even larger when you add the women who aren’t even suing or want anything from Watson but corroborate what the 22 women are accusing him of.

There’s no remorse or accountability from Watson. Say what you will about Mike Vick, there was atonement with him. Watson believes he’s been wronged somehow, just like Bill Cosby. Watson will end up in that Big Ben position where we recognize the talent but largely dislike him and can’t wait until he retires.

As for the Browns, they put out a lengthy statement saying they did a “comprehensive evaluation process,” and that is true. They did a comprehensive evaluation of the best way to get Watson. Connecting all the dots, it sounds like the only reason Watson did a 180 on the Browns after initially ruling them out was that the Browns offered to redo his contract to avoid losing a lot of money. The Browns redid Watson’s contract so that when he’s suspended, whether it’s four games, eight games or the full season, what he loses is taken from his base salary of $1 million this season and not the $46 million he’s due the following three seasons.

That part feels gross — that’s what those 22 masseuses said.

No!

I tried my best.

Moving on!

THOMAS

I’ve already talked about Lia Thomas and still stand by my take, but I did notice some interesting things. 

If you didn’t know, Thomas, a fifth-year senior, won the NCAA 500-yard freestyle championship. Touching the wall at 4:33.24 and narrowly beating freshman Emma Weyant of Virginia, who finished second with a time of 4:34.99. Thomas also finished fifth and ninth in the 200 free and 100 free.

Thomas didn’t break a single record and wasn’t even close to Katie Ledecky’s 4:24.06 time in the 500 free. (If anything, this should give you more of an appreciation of what a god Ledecky is.)

Again, still standing by that two-year waiting period for trans women at the elite levels, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a bit of a Chicken Little attitude when it comes to Thomas.

NCAA TOURNAMENT 

That first two rounds of the tournament were something else. The officiating has been frustrating (ban the charge and enough with the technicals for dunks), but it hasn’t taken away from how entertaining these games have been.

The second round, especially, was incredible. I like how the selection committee - and they’ve been doing this for a while, but this year more so than ever - puts those flawed but high-ceiling teams in the 8/9, 7/10 lines. It prevents the No. 1 and No. 2-seeds from having an absolute cakewalk to the Sweet 16. And if those lower seeds play their best and catch a break or break a trend (Like Creighton, the worst 3-point shooting team, all of a sudden shooting lights out from 3), the higher seeds are in for a battle.

Hopefully, these next two rounds can keep it going.

NFL OFFSEASON

The NFL has finally embraced the NBA’s trade mania with big names going every which way. Then there was free agency, and the teams you wanted to see make moves, made moves.

After dumping on my favorite team for months, the Jags and GM Trent Baalke made some solid signings. I am still bitter about missing out on Byron Leftwich and don’t like Baalke or owner Shad Khan, but it was a good free agency class.

The arms race in the AFC and specifically the AFC West has been highly entertaining.

With Russell Wilson in Denver, Devante Adams in Vegas, the Chargers fixing major holes in their roster and the Chiefs being the Chiefs, you want to say that all four teams in the West will make the playoffs, but then you look at the rest of the AFC, and man, it will be a wild playoff race for the AFC.

You have the four AFC West teams, the four AFC North teams, the Bills, the Pats, Colts, Titans and maybe Miami or that one surprise team all competing for seven playoff spots.

On the flip side of highly competitive teams, the Falcons look like the early front runner for the dumpster fire team of the year. They traded their franchise icon QB, Matt Ryan. They lost even more pieces on defense. Then their best offensive player, Calvin Ridley, is suspended a year for gambling on games.

There was a flurry of bad takes on Ridley’s situation. FS1’s Emmanuel Acho and PFT’s Mike Florio were the winners for worst takes. Florio said the suspension was too much, and Acho said players should be allowed to gamble on games, provided they’re betting on their teams and themselves. Absolutely dumb takes from both guys.

The NFL has deserved criticism for its random punishments, but they’re 100 percent correct with Ridley. This is an actual case of undermining the league’s integrity and product. Especially with sports gambling growing in popularity, the NFL must be vigilant in defending that integrity. Otherwise, it becomes the WWE.

 
 

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