For probably the first time in my life, I won’t casually root for the Browns as a sort of ancillary team. I’ve rooted for the Browns for a long time. Part of it was pity, obviously, but part of it was some extended family/friend ties, part of it was a general love of underdogs, and part of it was sympathy as a Baltimore native who saw that team get ripped from them. I’ve always been positive towards the Browns. Not the organization, they are long-established clowns, but I hoped for the team to do well because I wanted those fans to be happy. I don’t think I’ll be doing that next season, and for however long Watson is on the team.

The Browns traded their soul for a quarterback. They made a deal with the devil for those Ws. Make no mistake, this will probably help them win. Watson is a good QB. Yes, the Texans were 4-12 under his last playing season, yes, the Browns gave up a ton to secure him and will essentially have to win now, but I think it’ll probably help them compete. It just comes as the gross result of a gross system of events and I don’t think any of us are going to have pity for them anymore. I know I’m not alone in that I want to see this blow up in their faces.

I think we all sort of understood Watson was going to be coveted as an asset. I feel like most of us know the NFL well enough to not be truly surprised that someone would value wins over morals. It was always going to be sad to see teams negotiate a deal for a scumbag because he can ball. We already compromise our morals to some degree to even support this sport. What really got me wasn’t even the sheer scale of the deal. A lot of first-round picks I expected. I didn’t expect that frightening amount of money, but I wasn’t completely surprised. What got me was that the Browns literally structured the contract to work around his expected upcoming league suspension by the league to minimize money lost. That was just…I don’t have the words for that. In a league that is always surprising me with how low they can go, they surprised me again. Sickening.

Watson will not be charged with any criminal charges, but as anyone with a basic understanding of the legal system knows, a grand jury saying that there isn’t enough evidence to charge is not “innocence”. Especially in this line of crime. Sexual assault/harassment/etc is notoriously difficult to prove thanks to there rarely being hard evidence. There is a reason so many women don’t even bother reporting when they’ve become victims. It rarely works out for them. It usually makes things worse. 22 women came forward with a distinct pattern of behavior that ranged from harassment to rape, and legions of people immediately wrote them off all as gold diggers trying to cash in. I don’t know the truth. I can only guess how to feel through my own experience of how these things go and my own impressions of the world, and I do not come out of it believing Watson.

So a guy who threw a fit to force his way off a team and who was accused of horrible crimes and who is currently embattled in a swath of civil suits related to those crimes comes out of this as one of the highest-paid players in history after a pathetic desperate move from a stupid, evil franchise. It’s all so gross.

Fuck the Browns. Fuck the Browns for all of it. I get wanting to move on from Baker, he wasn’t living up to expectations even if he was suffering through injuries last year and is kind of a baby. They put themselves in this position by openly pissing him off, and I don’t blame him for being pissed at the Browns at all. He shouldn’t have gone so public with that dumb open letter, but I completely respect that he felt disrespected by a dumbshit franchise that he successfully gave a small piece of happiness after years of disgust. The Browns went for Watson, pissed off their current QB, and realized they had no other option but to throw everything they could at Watson since Baker wanted out.

They deserve every joke and insult thrown their way. Steelers fans especially probably can’t wait. This is worse than Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger was already a Pittsburgh hero before we found out he was a piece of shit. It made sense that Steelers fans would be conflicted and look the other way on Ben, even if it was gross. The Browns traded for the rapist this time. They sought the rapist out.  I already feel myself softening towards Pittsburgh. I used to like the Steelers as a kid, and for a while as a teenager. I liked Big Ben and rooted for them against the Seahawks, for The Bus and Troy Polamalu. I was annoyed when they beat the Cardinals in 2008, but that was mostly success fatigue. I didn’t hate the Steelers until they supported Big Ben’s rape redemption tour. Now that Ben is gone, I’ll probably soften to the Steelers to some degree. The Browns have the rapist now. Plus whatever team signs Jameis.

I’ll bring back the hydra this summer. I was optimistic for the Browns, but now I will happily revive that icon of failure and hope it only gets worse as long as he’s there.