It’s been a hell of a week for all of my little monsters who kick, throw, or have balls for a living. First, sport-ballers with testes had to endure a long weekend trying to make the excruciatingly difficult decision of whether or not they’d stand up for the rights of pregnant people (human rights, to be clear). Might it be bad for the brand? Would it isolate the right-wingers who fund their private jet travel and personal chef-crafted vegan spaghetti? Risky indeed! A dozen or so players from each sport (save those whose corporate teams rightly made the decision for them) spoke up as allies. Yes, I said from “each sport,” not “each team.”
Alas, some of the most vile sporty men are far too tangled up in their own nightmarish affairs to care about the nightmares of people who can get pregnant. From imploding basketball franchises to the fecklessness of the leagues attempting to figure out appropriate punishments for negligent, sometimes abusive men—“One year should be plenty!” they agree as they pick lint out of their belly buttons and slurp Big Gulps around a conference table—here’s the abhorrent behavior from the guys who grunt that you might have missed this week while trying to understand how you found yourself riding on a burning Ferris wheel.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is still not getting it after the conclusion of his NFL disciplinary hearing this week. Since March 2021, 25 women have filed lawsuits against him, alleging sexual assault and harassment during massage therapy appointments. Watson allegedly ping-ponged around from one masseuse to the next, often leveraging his fame to source the women over Instagram and telling them he’s “just tryna support black businesses.” Aside from forcing them to touch his penis or asking them to massage his testicles, he also allegedly handed them nondisclosure agreements that were drafted by an employee of the Texans, according to the New York Times.
Last week, according to ESPN, Watson said that he has no regrets about his actions, though he does regret the impact the allegations have had on the people around him. And this week, when Watson was asked about the severity of the allegations during the hearing, he responded, “I don’t know… Like I told you at the beginning of this depo, I’m still trying to figure out why we in the situation we are in right now, why I’m talking to you guys, why you guys are interviewing me. I don’t know. Do not know.”
But the bad guy in this story isn’t Watson alone: It’s the entire system. After one grand jury announced it would not indict Watson on any charges, the Houston Texans, where Watson played for five seasons, punted the quarterback on over to the Cleveland Browns who offered him a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract. Of course, that was only after the Texans set Watson up in a private hotel room where he could lure massage therapists into a controlled environment. Like I’ve said before, bad men in the NFL are playing a simple game of hot potato: It’s not so much a matter of removing them, as it is a matter of waiting for them to cool down so they can get back to the game.
In today’s episode of “morally depraved, but not at all shocking,” former race car driver Nelson Piquet went viral on Tuesday for using a racial slur during an interview. Piquet was talking about a crash during the 2021 British Grand Prix between Lewis Hamilton, the only Black driver in Formula 1, when he used the word “neguinho,” which means “little Black guy.” Hamilton, who is fighting for racial diversity in a league founded on Eurocentric values like “women can’t drive” and “make racetracks white again,” is a seven-time world champion but has had to carry the mantle of Blackness alone with little support from Formula 1 outside of publicity campaigns.
In a horrific report over at New York magazine, WWE’s first female referee Rita Chatterton alleged Vince McMahon, former chairman and chief executive officer of WWE, raped her. The news comes shortly after the Wall Street Journal reported last month that McMahon had paid millions of dollars to muzzle women he slept with who also worked for him. McMahon stepped down as chairman and CEO after the Journal article, only for his daughter to temporarily take his place. Powerful man at a sporting company treating female employees like objects he’s entitled to, then using the weight of a corporate legal team and his own finances to shut them up and lock away their secrets for decades? Sounds familiar.
As my colleague Ezinne Ukoha wrote, Charlotte Hornets’ player Miles Bridges’ tenure as an NBA star is likely (and rightly) over after his wife came forward with evidence that she had been a victim of domestic violence committed by Bridges. On Tuesday, Bridges turned himself in, was arrested on domestic violence felony charges, and was later released on $130,000 bail. According to Deadspin, however, sports media couldn’t stop obsessing over how much money Bridges had potentially lost (reportedly upwards of $173 million over the next five years). No amount of money could forgive what Bridges allegedly did to his partner, and a domestic abuser is not entitled to athletic stardom. The real question is whether Bridges’ wife is recovering following the trauma, and how many other abusers might be hiding in broad daylight within the NBA and its sibling leagues.
Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is refusing to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, despite being subpoenaed to testify, the committee said Monday. The committee had initially asked Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to appear for questioning during last week’s public hearing to address the Commanders’ toxic workplace, which is rife with sexual harassment and misogynistic attitudes towards female employees. Aside from fostering an unsafe workplace for women, in 2009 Snyder allegedly asked a former employee for sex, groped her, and tried to remove her clothes. Despite company policy, Goodell said the Commanders didn’t notify the league of those allegations. They also forgot to mention the $1.6 million confidential settlement she received. You can’t hide on your yacht forever, Dan. Women are calling for justice, and buddy boy, you’ve gotta answer eventually. Pound that gavel, Goodell!