Will MLB’s two-year suspension of Trevor Bauer impact NFL’s handling of Deshaun Watson?

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Major League Baseball stunned the sports world on Friday by suspending Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for two full seasons, based on allegations of domestic violence. Although the facts are very different, it’s difficult not to wonder whether the extent of the punishment will influence the NFL’s ultimate handling of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Bauer was accused of sexual assault that occurred when he allegedly went too far with consensual rough sex during a pair of encounters in April and May 2021. The allegations resulted in no criminal charges. A request for a permanent restraining order also was denied.

That doesn’t prevent the MLB from taking action. The league interviewed other women who claimed they had been assaulted by Bauer. One woman accused Bauer of choking her to the point of unconsciousness “dozens of times” during a relationship that spanned years.

Bauer was placed on paid leave last July. He has appeal rights, and he intends to exercise them. He has vehemently denied any and all wrongdoing.

The alleged facts are disturbing. More detail is available in this item from ESPN.com. The broader point, as it relates to the NFL, is whether Commissioner Roger Goodell will feel compelled to take stronger action against Watson, based on the two-year suspension imposed on Bauer.

These are fair and appropriate considerations. The entire Personal Conduct Policy is a P.R. tool, aimed at creating a vehicle for the league to take proper action against players who do things while not working that prompt fans and media to ask, “Why doesn’t the league take proper action?” Whether the action taken is or isn’t proper is determined not by any formula or calculation but by how fans and media react to it.

Already, some in the league office are privately advocating harsh action against Watson, who is accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. He has not been charged with any crimes, but 22 lawsuits are pending and proceeding. Some in the league office believe that Watson should be placed on paid leave until the cases are resolved, with a decision made thereafter as to a possible unpaid suspension.

Last month, the Commissioner seemed to rule out paid leave, explaining that if the league concludes there’s enough to justify paid leave, Watson would simply be suspended without pay. For more than a year, there has been a sense in league circles that Watson will be suspended from four to eight games. Last October, for example, the Dolphins believed that, if they had finalized a trade for Watson following the settlement of all cases (18 of the 22 were ready to be resolved), he would have been suspended six games.

The Bauer case requires a fresh look at the question. Those in the league office who believe he shouldn’t play until the cases are resolved could also be inclined to push for a much harsher suspension, if/when the Commissioner decides to impose one. Could Watson be suspended for a full year?

It shouldn’t be regarded as impossible. And it could be reason enough for the Browns to try to re-build a bridge to Baker Mayfield. With their options for trading him drying up, there’s still a chance they’ll need him to play in 2022 — if Watson ultimately is suspended for the entire season.

35 responses to “Will MLB’s two-year suspension of Trevor Bauer impact NFL’s handling of Deshaun Watson?

  1. Bauer got a 2 year suspension for being a victim of extortion. Watson may get 6 games, at most, for allegedly being serial sex predator.

  2. So a person can accuse someone, and the court of law decides not enough evidence to prove anything, then his job suspends him for 3 yrs basically? Unreal. Horrible take.

  3. Does Deshaun Watson owe you money? Was a relative of yours one of the 22 woman who gave him happy-endings?

    So, what is your obsession in wanting to crush him?

  4. Choked her until she passed out “dozens of times” over several years?? If it were 1 time and she left and reported it then it would make sense that it was some kind of assault. But “dozens of times” over several years sounds to me like this was a consensual fetish of sorts. 2 years sounds insane for something that was dismissed in the courts. The far left wants to cancel everyone for simple allegations… until they are the ones accused and then they want the consequences to be based on evidence and proof (which is what it should be for EVERYONE). The media and the left have gone mad…

  5. No. I do not think Bauer’s case will impact Watson’s. Reason being is because the NFL and MLB are two sovereign entities that create their own laws/rules. (These laws/rules are used on a very wide sliding scale, and are decided on the basis of what benefits the league and it’s bottom line … as opposed to what is actually right or wrong.) The NFL has sanctioned Watson’s trade to Cleveland. It would be a terrible look to punish Cleveland for things that Watson did while with the Texans. I have come to accept the crookedness and greed of each commissioner in each league. The league and it’s owners/leaders are morally bankrupt. It is what it is.

  6. Watson will not face a suspension. Arbitrary and capricious describes how the NFL doles out punishment. Inconsistent and not fairly applied. If Zeke got 6 Watson should be gone a year. Yet he will get no suspension.

  7. In Bauer’s case photographs of the women showed she had a bruised face as if she was beat up. No evidence of that has appeared with Watson’s case. IMO, Watson should get the 2 years and Bauer 10 years.

  8. I’m guessing upon appeal the Bayers suspension will be cut back significantly. But on the other side we know this is the NFL. We know how greedy these owners and executives are. The NFL has absolutely zero issues with letting criminals play. If it wasn’t for video of Henry Ruggs speeding before he killed that women, you best believe he’d be on a roster collecting a check. The NFL employs a ton of questionable people from the players, to coaches, to the front office, to owners.

  9. Give it up. If anything you should be calling out MLB for that ridiculousness, not trying to use it to justify your vendetta against Watson

  10. The NFL should be the gold standard and have a zero tolerance policy, enforcing a standard of conduct that’s higher than corporate America, higher than government. It should be referenced in all contracts. One strike (whether criminal prosecution or civil complaint of a nefarious negative NFL branding action) and the owner/coach/player/coach/employee/contractor/consultant is out, but it has to be proven or settled. The action(s) of each person has to be unprovoked (they have to be able to defend themselves). Each team and the NFL has to immediately investigate (within 2 business days) of said complaint being filed. It’s not hard to do. There are 1,000’s of people ready to take these jobs once they open. The league should provide annual training for its employees (as it does) and for even for the NCAA to educate college athletes the league is looking to draft (reminding them of consequences of behavior). It’s really not all that hard.

  11. If he was a normal guy he’d be fired or jail or both. He can throw and run in the nfl, so he gets paid $150,000,000. But life has a way of evening things out. Wait for it..

  12. No. Two completely different universes. If Watson would have done something wrong, at least one of the twenty-two women would have called the police to report a crime. None did. The case has not gotten anywhere in a regular court room. If Watson would have been a man with no money, there would never have been any attempt to make a hush-hush settlement out of court. This was just an extortion attempt. Bauer’s deal is much different. In his case, somebody was badly injured. In Watson’s case, it was just normal stuff that goes on in that particular industry.

  13. I hope he gets to play some just so everyone can see how overrated he actually is, then suspended for 2 years.

  14. Bauer admitted liking things rough, what went down was FAR beyond that, and I don’t think he likes it rough, It appears he just likes being rough.

  15. This obsession around destroying a person that has been convicted of nothing is concerning. Take your responsibility in media more seriously.

  16. Geeze, maybe we can dig up some old stories of the Boston Strangler and see if maybe they apply to the Watson situation…

  17. Not a fan of Trevor Bauer but how is this punishment justified? The police have not charged him with a crime, so why is he suspended because MLB does not approve of his sex life. He was not charged with a crime. Is MLB saying they can act as judge, jury and executioner.

  18. I’m guessing it’s all Steelers, Bengals and Ravens fans insisting Watson be suspended two years minimum. Yawn.

  19. Watson should never see an NFL field again, but we all know he’ll be back, and the worst part about it is he’ll be the face of a franchise. How can you justify that Cleveland? Unreal

  20. He shouldn’t be suspended at all.

    This country needs to get back to innocent until proven guilty. Unless he’s admitted to it, or there is clear evidence showing he did it until it goes through court he shouldn’t be punished by anybody.

  21. I think the NFL should suspend Watson three seasons and tell MLB baseball, na na na na we can show you how tough we can be on this also. gotcha

  22. Nope they have zero to do with each other. I repeat zero! Watson should have already got a whole season off. Well see if anything happens to him now. its kinda looking like a money grab at this point. And yes all 22 cases are shechy at this point.

  23. Cleveland got through the Kareem Hunt saga, and at the end of the day, there doesn’t seem to be much of a case.. Regardless of personal beliefs, and the very slim odds that out of 22 “victims” he is completely innocent. This is America, and Bill Cosby is walking free for doing much worse.

  24. Until and unless Watson admits, or is convicted of anything, it does not seem right he can lose his job, even temporarily. Even though MLB suspended Bauer under similar circumstances, the NFL should not feel pressured to punish Watson for mere allegations.

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