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What is the price of victory? The Cleveland Browns lost Deshaun Watson

No person or organization is perfect, right? A few years ago, the best coach in professional football was cheating on the best team in recent NFL history, as was his star player and leader on the field. Sometimes people and organizations push the boundaries in an effort to win. But what has happened in Cleveland over the past few months has been borderline destruction. What were the Browns thinking when they brought Deshaun Watson into their organization?

He was desperate to win at an agency that had never recovered from the art model’s decision to leave town in 1996, and he ignored all the warning flags to take over a man accused of sexual abuse by 24 women before arriving. Browns from the Houston Texans.

Your quarterback is your on-field leader and the face of your franchise. Also, it’s not hard to see why many Clevelanders viewed the investment in Watson as the worst thing to happen in Browns football history — even worse than Modell’s defection to Baltimore in the eyes of the city’s long-suffering fans.

Browns co-owner, Jimmy Haslam, wants us to cut him (and his new prize) some slack. “I think in this country, and hopefully in the world, people deserve second chances,” he said, sounding for all the world like someone who thinks his player is guilty. “I really think it’s him Never Want to play again? his Never Want to be a part of society? Does he get No A chance to rehabilitate himself?

Haslam’s formula is wrong. People don’t deserve second chances; They deserve the right to earn second chances by admitting their mistakes and promising to correct them. The problem is that no one is specifying “what” Watson is rehabilitating himself into. That includes Watson, who maintains his “innocence” and says his multimillion-dollar financial settlement with his accusers does not indicate guilt. Former federal judge Susan L. They say the characteristics of Robinson’s behavior do not indicate a “predatory” crime. Nor, apparently, does the NFL earmark money from its fines to pay for national programs that educate young people about healthy sexual relationships.

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Watson thanked the Browns organization for their continued support and expressed relief that the “disciplinary process” was complete. He’ll have to pay $5 million and miss 11 football games this season, but the financial hit amounts to peanuts given his $230 million contract with the Browns.

If you’re a reader of a certain age, you remember the Browns as the Cardiac Kids, thrilling fans across the country with their late-game heroics. They were a great team and a great culture, and had the misfortune of playing in an era (well, the 1970s) that had even more teams with equally strong cultures and followings. Every year for decades, the team found ways to disappoint its loyal fans, but fans kept coming back and supporting the brand because they felt it stood for their proud, blue-collar values ​​of hard work and relative scarcity.

And now? How divorced from the rest of society’s other values ​​is winning — even if it is considered “aspirational” and difficult to achieve — if an organization full of educated citizens succeeds, effectively undoing this staggering failure to act on due diligence?

Perhaps more than any other single cause, this relational foresight reminds us that culture and organization can say one thing and undo another. People have a hard time – a very hard time – with hypocrisy, no matter how the people upstairs spin it. A brand is more than a set of attributes; It describes the relationship between the company and its stakeholders. That relationship says, “When you do business with us or when you support us, you can expect certain things from us and trust us to deliver these things because we say we will.”

So we’re left asking, “Who are the Cleveland Browns now?” Or to put the matter in its everyday context: As this season progresses in Northern Ohio, will parents wear #4 Watson jerseys to games and spend their hard-earned money buying #4 merch for their sons and daughters? If so, the price of glory is further devalued.

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