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When you don’t know that you’re toxic…

So, let’s talk a little bit about relationships.

By definition, the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected, is what we call a relationship in our current society. We’re all in in a relationship at some point in our lives, whether it’s an intimate and romantic relationship with a significant other, a corporate and business relationship with contemporaries in your field or lack thereof, and so on. Everyone goes through relationships. With those relationships, come differences and issues where you have to simply make one simple assessment: What is our common goal here?

What’s interesting is, in a relationship, when you are with your counterparts for a long time, more often than not, common goals become not so common. Case in point, Deshaun Watson’s current battle of angst with the Houston Texans. Now, he walked out of college with a National Championship en route to being a first round pick when the Houston Texans traded up to get him in 2017. Since being drafted, he’s established himself as one of the best QBs in the league—many would argue he’s top 3, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, who just happen to be two of the last three MVPs of the NFL. He is one of only four Quarterbacks with a career passer rating of over 100, the other three being Rodgers, Mahomes, and Russell Wilson, the latter of whom I’m going to contrast with the situation with Watson.

Every relationship has goals. In business, the goal is usually to generate financial stability; you want to be successful together, build an empire you all can draw and benefit from. In marriage, you want to build a foundation of the love you created to raise a family of your own, at least that’s what we’re told anyway. But no one wants to be the one that makes things toxic, especially unintentionally. No one wants to be Chris Brown when he beat Rihanna in a Lamborghini the night before the Grammys in 2009. Unfortunately, the Texans not only seem like they didn’t get that memo, its almost as if they’re doing it intentionally, making it a different, albeit worse situation entirely.

I want people to understand that Deshaun Watson did NOT want to leave Houston. He simply asked to be involved more with decisions that directly affects him. He has no issues with the players who are on the field with him. He has no issues with newly-hired head coach David Culley, the former passing game coordinator for the Ravens who had to wait three decades for a head coaching job and has never been considered to be a viable coaching candidate. Nope. His issue is with the front office and general manager Nick Caserio. He no longer feels valued by the team, and now it’s gotten to the point where Watson had to tell Culley to his face that he has no intention of playing for the Texans ever again.

All of this in mind, and the Texans have yet to answer any calls about deals for Watson. That’s right. They’re not even picking up the phone. Feel free to insert a facepalm here. Relationships between players and teams has forever been viewed as a one-way street. Players are expected to do whatever an organization wants, because they’re being paid massively to play (Watson signed a $160-million extension last season). With the reality being that the flow should be mutual, Houston broke that flow when they didn’t even bother talking to coaches Watson wanted to work with. See a pattern here? These are easiest signs of respect the organization can give him, and they continue to fail in that regard.

Now in contrast, let’s look at Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks since 2012. Drafted in the third round (75th overall). Went to back-to-back Superbowls in 2014 and 2015, winning one against Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. And, as mentioned before, one of four QBs with a 100+ CPR. With all that being said, Russell Wilson, with all the annual success and support he has gotten, finally made ONE complaint. And it couldn’t be a more valid one. On the Dan Patrick show earlier in February, while with requesting essentially the same thing Watson requested from the Texans, Wilson stated this: “I’m frustrated with getting hit too much.” Wanna know just how valid that statement is? Russell Wilson has been sacked 394 times since his rookie year. He stands alone in that category.

Subsequently, the Seahawks front office didn’t even bat an eye when they voiced their displeasure with Wilson’s remarks. Sure, they made him one of the highest-paid players in history and deservedly so, and he in turn has given them a consistent opportunity to compete for Lombardi’s season-in and season-out. Now the Seattle brass has realized exactly what the Texans are doing everything in their power to ignore: The writing isn’t just on the wall, it might be in permanent ink. In response, they’re actively assessing what has occurred in the times leading up to Russell making his gripes public.

The common general belief is that the Seahawks should do what they can to bend to Russell’s wishes, and that being prideful is the incorrect approach, which it is. But closer observation suggests that the Seahawks not only understand what’s going on, but they aren’t about to let things get toxic. And this is where Houston is fumbling the bag with Watson. While they are figuratively holding Watson hostage for lack of a better term, the Seahawks are actively listening to calls and deals for the greatest Quarterback in their franchise’s history. They’ve made the assessment that Wilson’s unhappiness should not necessarily be theirs. Russ, in turn, has cooperated in his own way, laying down a list of places he’d rather be shipped to if it ultimately came to that, thanks to his no-trade clause, which include Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, and New Orleans. Simply put, there is a way to handle a rift in a relationship, and Seattle and Russell Wilson are actually handling it like adults.

All the Texans have done since Deshaun Watson demanded a trade is make the situation insurmountably worse. They honestly believe that they can repair the relationship with him, and while that’s all fine and dandy, and their more than within their right to damn sure try, the actions of the Texans bear no confidence in the team even being relevant in the immediate future, with or without Watson. They refuse to assess their shortcomings and have pushed Watson farther away with each passing day. They don’t understand that they could have the entire league at their feet with the most lucrative and beneficial offers imaginable. Yet, in true possessive and compulsive fashion, have set in their ways to keep Watson from going anywhere as long as they can help it, no matter how unlikely.

Ultimately, what’s going to happen when no more teams willing to pony up for Watson need a franchise QB and you’re either stuck with him sitting out for a season (which he has made clear that he’s prepared to do), or you end up trading him to a lesser team with nothing more to offer than an end table and a bowl of cashews? With no picks in the first 2 rounds of the upcoming draft, what happens if Deshaun doesn’t play and there are no more QB’s available next year? All he wanted was a say, and istead of being upfront and forthcoming with Watson, they’re making the fatal mistake of barring their biggest opportunities to redeem themselves.

The Houston Texans are officially in a toxic relationship with their star player, and they are the figurative poison distributor within it. Watson just wants to get the fuck out of the car like Rihanna did. Both she and Chris Brown have since reestablished themselves, and while it may be too soon to say that a worse fate awaits the Texans, remember that the biggest of those relationship goals, is to not make it toxic. And while Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are actively assessing and understanding how to keep that from happening, the Texans have surely reached that point of no revival with Deshaun Watson.

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