Lauren Baxley. Do you know the name? Do you know who she is?
While she’s likely to be ignored on NFL pregame shows, she’s supposedly got the full attention of the NFL and NFLPA.
Baxley is the one of 24, the one who refused to be bought off in the settlement that Dashaun Watson had bought in the allegations of sexual assault by massage therapists whom he apparently mistook for illegal sex workers, and thus was entitled to sexual gratification.
Baxley says she is not interested in financial compensation. Silence, damn it. She wants justice.
“My name is Lauren Baxley. I am a former massage therapist and quit the only career I’ve known in May,” she wrote in the Daily Beast on August 19. “I was forced to quit for the sake of my health and life; Since June 2020 I no longer feel safe to give therapy. I am the remaining plaintiff against Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who harassed and assaulted me.
“I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they contain no genuine acknowledgment of regrets and wrongdoings, nor promises of rehabilitation treatment. Watson still refuses to admit he harassed and assaulted me.
“Every settlement offer he has made has been a rejection of his evil deeds.”
Watson, who had just signed a guaranteed $230 million with the Browns despite the many allegations, was originally given an unfathomably lenient proposed penalty of a six-game suspension by an arbiter.
That ruling, of course, pleased the NFLPA, which usually defends the indefensible—even in cases where the NFL fines and/or suspends an NFLPA member for excessive, illegal brutality against another member.
The NFL instead struck Watson with an 11-game ban and a $5 million fine, while most, after such a settlement with 23 women, would have lost their jobs forever.
Baxley claimed in an earlier interview that Watson was eager to expose herself by tapping the terry cloth she had covered his crotch with.
“I say it again,” wrote Baxley, “all unconsensual sexual acts are violence, especially when the predator is much larger than its victims in physical stature and influential power”
Baxley wrote that she had no reason to suspect Watson as a sexual predator:
“The owner of the Browns [Jimmy Haslam] insisted they ‘felt comfortable’ meeting Deshaun Watson [after the accusations and before awarding him the record contract].
“I admit, Deshaun Watson also made me feel comfortable before he tricked me and attacked me during a massage session that he had promised beforehand would be ‘professional’ and ‘non-sexual’.
“That’s what ambush predators do.”
Haslam has rationalized his support for Watson under the guise: “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Especially the ones who get a guaranteed $230 million to be someone’s QB.
Haslam has called the second chance he gave Kareem Hunt to run back, signed by the Browns after he was thrown overboard by the Chiefs when video emerged of Hunt hitting a woman on the ground before kicking her.
How many chances would Haslam offer, oh, his director of scouting or third-string QB if they settled even one sexual assault case brought against them?
Over the weekend during a preseason game in Cleveland, the “NFL Experience” continued.
At an entrance, a man was selling T-shirts in the colors of the Browns. It said, “BITCH, give me a massage.”
Also a middle-aged man with a wide smile and a Browns’ No. 4 Watson jersey—the Browns sell their Nike Watson model for $130—alongside a boy about 12, apparently the man’s son. They proudly held up large placards that read (the expletive edit is mine): “F–k Them Hoes. Free Watson.” They also stood at an entrance for maximum exposure.
Free marketplace. Freedom of speech. And you don’t believe we’re on the brink of destruction?
Why crowds, even in Subway Series?
The latest Mets-Yankees series was loaded with suspicious silence.
At SNY, a high fly to the right from Pete Alonso was dropped when second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera stroked inbound rightfielder Marwin Gonzalez. Keith Hernandez scolded Cabrera for a fundamental foul – failing to catch with both hands, making the ball safe, a sensible but outdated concept.
But during that play, Alonso surrendered early, leaving the batter’s box at minimal speed. Would he otherwise have had a chance to make second base? Why was he ranked first instead of second?
We never got to see Alonso’s abridged trip, nor did Hernandez, Gary Cohen, or Ron Darling talk about it.
The next batter, Daniel Vogelbach, hit one to deep right-center and stood at the plate to take it all. He had, in fact, hit a home run. But again, not a word from the Mets TV trio that he should have run first, jogged second.
The next night, the game was 2-2 in the seventh, the Mets’ Brett Baty in second place, one out, when Brandon Nimmo hit one deep to center right. Aaron Judge caught it by the wall. Inexplicably—aside from the fact that basic winning baseball is no longer a pre-MLB priority—Baty, instead of tagging, went halfway and then had to bounce back to second place.
But again, not a word from the Mets TV team.
Then my favorite: When a midfield 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 cites statistical stupidity
Funny how the networks that should know the most are the most eager to show they know the least. Reader Tom Barrett sent screenshot stats from this week showing the MLB network is threatening ESPN for systemic stupidity.
1) “Mets: Three-game Yankees win streak broken. Dates from September 2001.”
2) Trevor Megill of Twins: “First save of career at first save.”
Now that “Bottom Line” Bud Selig followed by “Rotten Guess” Rob Manfred have homogenized baseball – add two cans of water, stir – with the last – all 30 teams will play against each other next season – it’s time to finally eliminate what the Commissioners Have Destroyed: The Once-Loved All-Star Game.
Saturday, before the Cowboys-Chargers broadcast for the season, the NFL Network’s studio show featured two large images of the teams’ No. 1 QBs, Dak Prescott and Justin Hebert, as the game’s come-on. Neither played of course. (Thanks to West Coast reader, trusty David Distefano, for the heads up).
Rap-sheet rapper Fetty Wap, after his conviction this week for 500 grams of cocaine, is now saddened to inform Roger Goodell that he may not be available to perform at this season’s Super Bowl.
I share the joy with the rest of Gotham in the knowledge that Kevin Durant, for $48.5 million each, has patched things up with the Nets. For now. The Nets can even pay off his student loan.
As featured on NBC last weekend, the PGA, now deeply confused to support the hearts and minds of the public, still can’t stop many event directors from ignoring the applause of paying spectators.
Lookalikes: Submitted by Joe Magnetico: Raiders owner Mark Davis and Disney’s Willie the Giant.