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Crime & Punishment

Calvin Ridley just got completely, totally screwed ... again

August 01, 2022
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Icon Sportswire

On Monday, after months of investigation and speculation, Sue L. Robinson—the former federal judge presiding over the NFL’s discipline of Deshaun Watson following 24 civil suits alleging sexual misconduct with masseuses across the Houston area—recommended a six-game suspension for the current Cleveland Browns quarterback. The number was drastically less than the full-season and “indefinite” rumors that had been circulating, will cost Watson a fraction of his salary due to his contract structure, and is still too harsh depending on who you ask. But there was one thing that everyone could agree on as the news broke:

Calvin Ridley got completely, totally screwed.

We, as a culture, seemingly don't see eye to eye on anything anymore. If you say up, they say down. If you say round, they say flat. Hell, there’s an ongoing civil war about putting ketchup on hot dogs. And yet here we are, one nation, indivisible, united in defense of an Atlanta Falcons wide receiver. All it takes is one rock-brained decision from NFL HQ to get everybody, at least temporarily, on the same page. On one hand, the Watson decision is atrocious—for Ridley, for the victims of Watson’s disturbing pattern of behavior. On the other, at least for 15 miserable Monday seconds we weren’t at each other’s throats.

There's still one potential twist to this sordid tale, though. The six-game suspension was the recommendation of judge Robinson and wholeheartedly endorsed by the NFLPA, whose job it is to defend the rights of NFL players regardless of whether those players did bad things or are bad people. According to some reports, the NFL was angling for a longer suspension (12 games) and a steep fine ($8 million) during settlement negotiations with Watson and the NFLPA.

Following the initial six-game ruling, however, the NFL can now appeal judge Robinson’s decision and push for a meaningful suspension for Watson, one that actually hits him in the pocketbook and impacts the Browns organization—who play the NFL’s easiest schedule weeks one through six—on the field. So will they? That remains to be seen, but no matter what Watson’s final punishment ends up being, don’t expect #Justice4Calvin. What’s done is done—no matter how contradictory, illogical, or downright craven—and there’s no going back now.