Deshaun Watson, Browns defenders a troubling sign of terrible times

Lauren Baxley. Know the name? Know who she is? 

Though likely to be ignored on NFL pregame shows, she presumably has come to the full attention of the NFL and NFLPA. 

Baxley is the one among the 24, the one who refused to be bought off in the settlement purchased by Dashaun Watson in the sexual assault allegations by massage therapists he apparently confused with illegal sex workers, thus was entitled to sexual gratification. 

Baxley says she isn’t interested in financial compensation. Hush money be damned. She wants justice. 

“My name is Lauren Baxley. I am a former massage therapist, having quit the only career I have known in May,” she wrote Aug. 19 in the Daily Beast. “I was forced into quitting for the sake of my health and life; I have not felt safe providing therapy since before June, 2020. I am the remaining plaintiff against Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who harassed and committed indecent assault against me. 

“I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they have not included any sincere acknowledgment of remorse and wrongdoings, nor have they included any promises of rehabilitative treatment. Watson still refuses to admit that he harassed and committed indecent assault against me. 

“Any settlement offer he has made has been a dismissal of his evil actions.” 

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
AP

Watson, fresh from signing a guaranteed $230 million with the Browns despite the multiple allegations, originally was given an unfathomably mild suggested punishment of a six-game suspension by an arbitrator. 

That ruling naturally pleased the NFLPA, which habitually defends the indefensible — even in cases in which the NFL fines and/or suspends an NFLPA member for excessive, illegal brutality against another member. 

The NFL instead hit Watson with an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine, when most, after such a settlement with 23 women, would have forever lost their jobs, good riddance. 

Baxley, in an earlier interview, claimed Watson was eager to expose himself, knocking off the toweling with which she had covered his groin. 

“I will say again,” Baxley wrote, “all non-consensual sexual acts are a violence, particularly when the predator far outweighs his victims in physical stature and influential power” 

Baxley wrote she had no reason to suspect Watson as a sexual predator: 

“The owner of the Browns [Jimmy Haslam] insisted they ‘got comfortable’ meeting Deshaun Watson [after the accusations and before awarding him the record contract]. 

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
AP

“I will admit, Deshaun Watson also ensured I felt comfortable before he trapped and assaulted me in a massage session he had promised beforehand was going to be ‘professional’ and ‘non-sexual.’ 

“That’s what ambush predators do.” 

Haslam has rationalized his support of Watson under the bromide, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” 

Especially those being paid a guaranteed $230 million to be one’s QB. 

Haslam has cited the second chance he granted running back Kareem Hunt, signed by the Browns after jettisoned by the Chiefs when video emerged of Hunt knocking a woman to the floor before kicking her. 

How many chances would Haslam provide, oh, his director of scouting or third-string QB had they settled even one sexual assault case filed against them? 

Over the weekend at a preseason game in Cleveland, the “NFL Experience” continued. 

At an entrance a man sold T-shirts in the Browns’ colors. It read, “BITCH, give me a massage.” 

Also, a middle-aged man wearing a broad smile and a Browns’ No. 4 Watson jersey — the Browns sell their Nike Watson model for $130 — beside a boy, about 12, apparently the man’s son. They proudly held up large signs that read (the expletive editing is mine), “F–k Them Hoes. Free Watson.” They, too, stood at an entrance for maximum exposure. 

Free marketplace. Freedom of expression. And you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction? 

Why hustle, even in Subway Series?

The latest Mets-Yankees series was loaded with suspicious silence. 

On SNY, a high fly to right hit by Pete Alonso was dropped as second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera brushed incoming right fielder Marwin Gonzalez. Keith Hernandez scolded Cabrera for a fundamental failure — not catching with both hands, thus securing the ball, a sensible but antiquated concept. 

But on that play, Alonso surrendered early, leaving the batter’s box at minimal speed. Would he have otherwise had a chance to make second base? Why was he on first instead of second? 

Oswaldo Cabrera collides with Marwin Gonzalez as they drop a pop up in the seventh inning.
Oswaldo Cabrera collides with Marwin Gonzalez as they drop a pop up in the seventh inning.
Robert Sabo for the NY POST

We were never shown Alonso’s abridged journey, nor did Hernandez, Gary Cohen or Ron Darling speak about it. 

The next batter, Daniel Vogelbach, hit one to deep right-center then stood at the plate to take it all in. He had, in fact, hit a home run. Yet, again, not a word from the Mets’ TV trio that he should’ve run first, jogged second. 

The next night, the game was 2-2 in the seventh, the Mets’ Brett Baty on second, one out, when Brandon Nimmo smashed one deep to right-center. Aaron Judge caught it at the wall. Inexplicably — aside from the fact that fundamental winning baseball is no longer a pre-MLB priority — Baty, rather than tag up, went halfway, then had to return to second. 

Daniel Vogelbach watches his two-run homer against the Yankees.
Daniel Vogelbach watches his two-run homer against the Yankees.
Robert Sabo for the NY POST

But, again, not a word from the Mets’ TV team. 

Then my favorite: As a center-field shot showed insanely priced Yankee Stadium seats behind the plate, many unoccupied for a 12th straight season, Hernandez spoke what was visibly untrue: The stadium, he said, is “Absolutely jammed.”

MLBN strikes up stat stupidity

Funny, how the networks that should know the most are the most eager to demonstrate that they know the least. Reader Tom Barrett sent screen-shot stats from this week showing that the MLB Network is threatening ESPN for systemic stupidity. 

1) “Mets: Three-game win streak over Yankees snapped. Dates back to September, 2001.” 

2) Twins’ Trevor Megill: “First blown save of career on first save opportunity.” 

Now that “Bottom Line” Bud Selig followed by “Rotten Guess” Rob Manfred have homogenized baseball — add two cans of water, stir — with the latest — all 30 teams next season will play one another — it’s time to finally eliminate what the commissioners have destroyed: The once-cherished All-Star Game. 


Saturday, before its Cowboys-Chargers preseason telecast, NFL Network’s studio show displayed two large images of the teams’ No. 1 QBs, Dak Prescott and Justin Hebert, as the game’s come-on. Of course, neither played. (Thanks to West Coast reader, reliable David Distefano, for the heads-up). 


Rap-sheet rapper Fetty Wap, after his conviction this week for 500 grams of cocaine, now must regretfully inform Roger Goodell that he might be unavailable to perform at this season’s Super Bowl. 


I share the joy with the rest of Gotham in knowing that Kevin Durant, at $48.5 million per, has patched things up with the Nets. For now. Heck, the Nets might even pay off his college loan. 

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
AP

As seen this past weekend on NBC, the PGA, now wallet-deep in a war to sustain the hearts and minds of the public, still can’t prevent many event leaders from ignoring the applause of paying spectators. 


Lookalikes: Submitted by Joe Magnetico: Raiders owner Mark Davis and Disney’s Willie the Giant. 

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