If you thought the “Deshaun Watson walks out of a bar” story was dead, allow me to revive it. Just for a moment.
The more I think about this story—if you haven’t heard, google it, it won’t disappoint—the more fascinating it becomes. In many respects, there are still more questions than answers.
Why was Watson in Tuscaloosa? Why should we care? Was Ryan Anderson trying to bow up to Watson, or was he offering to pay for his tab? Why did no one intervene, opting instead to mutter quietly to themselves? And what impact should that have on Watson’s draft stock?
(The answer to that last question is, none. If anything, getting up quietly and walking out without making a scene should make him more appealing as a prospect. But I digress.)
Anyway, the “why was he there anyway” question is a puzzle, because everybody with a keyboard and a username has a theory. It is a little bizarre, though, which got me thinking: Where else might Deshaun Watson be denied access to food and drink?
Now, this is a nonsensical conversation because clearly this was a one-time thing. I’m sure he could walk into a number of Tuscaloosa establishments without incident, and I’m sure the rest of the places on this list would be more than welcoming.
However, let’s not pretend that there aren’t locales across America with a motive or two for keeping Watson out of local watering holes. Also, this is a great way to remember how many fan bases Watson tortured during his time at Clemson. Here is my list of least likely places to serve Deshaun Watson, in descending order:
- Birmingham—This is where the SEC offices are located. Watson did a number on the league while at Clemson. He beat South Carolina three times, including once on one leg. He won at Auburn, and of course, he split a pair of national title games with Alabama and played like a boss in both. Greg Sankey probably never wants to see him again.
- Chapel Hill—They really don’t care that much about football here. After all, they’re polishing a new trophy as we speak. But it can’t be ignored that Watson cost UNC a conference title with a dynamite performance in the ACC title game. Many may not know what sport he plays, but they’ll probably recognize Watson’s face as the man who stole “their” championship.
- Blacksburg—Similar to UNC, but more aware of the game of football, why it matters, etc. I’m sure they thought they’d get their chance with Jerod Evans under center next year, but then he unexpectedly left for the pros. Now they get to blame Watson for denying them a championship with a dynamic quarterback last season.
- Athens—It’s true that Watson’s team lost to Georgia in the only meeting between the two sides, but Watson was also arguably Clemson’s best player in that game. Furthermore, he grew up in close proximity to Georgia’s campus and chose to pick the Tigers over the Bulldogs. When Georgia fans think of Greyson Lambert or Bryce Ramsey, they might start foaming at the mouth over what might have been.
- Columbus—This was a hard one to place on the list. I mean, can they even be mad at Watson? After all, they scored exactly ZERO points. That’s not Watson’s fault. And with a Heisman contender under center (national pundits’ words, not mine) in J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes will be back. It still stings to be embarrassed when you feel the need to constantly remind people you’re “THE” university in your state.
- Louisville—Apparently Watson and Lamar Jackson are boys now. Bobby Petrino got what he asked for: a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a few too many losses. They can’t be super mad, except that they almost beat Clemson all three times they played while Watson was on campus (including the game in which he was injured early). That stings.
- Tallahassee—Clemson kept Florida State out of the ACC title game twice in a row. That’s unheard of, but it happened largely because of Watson’s brilliant playmaking. The drive that put the Tigers on top in Tally last season was a thing of beauty. The Noles are fine with Deondre Francois, but if Watson never shows his face near campus, I doubt anyone would complain.
- Norman—The irrational hatred Oklahoma fans have for Bob Stoops has to trace back partially to Watson, right? After all, his backup dropped 40 on OU in Orlando, then Watson calmly rushed for a zillion yards and beat the Sooners by 20 in the CFP the next season. Oklahoma fans wouldn’t be so ravenous if Watson/Stoudt hadn’t made them look so inept in the postseason two years in a row. (On second thought, maybe they should write Watson a check for exposing some flaws in the program.)
- Columbia—Ah, where to begin? The jealousy is outrageously strong in this one. He beat the Gamecocks on one leg, for crying out loud. They played their little tails off in Columbia two years ago, and they still lost. Then Watson led the charge as Clemson bludgeoned to death its rival in the worst beating in the history of the rivalry. Oh, and also, that trophy he hoisted in Tampa. Hey, Deshaun—stay out of Five Points.
- Tuscaloosa—All of these other places are purely hypothetically inclined to show Watson the door. In Tuscaloosa, it actually happened. That has to be the tiebreaker, regardless of what the reasons for it were. The college football world’s more stereotypically insane fan base does it again.
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