As orange and white confetti rained down on the turf of Levi Stadium, Deshaun Watson celebrated with his alma mater and former head coach, the very exact team he himself won the first national title in school history with, in jubilant fashion. His Clemson Tigers, fresh off delivering a blowout to their rival Alabama Crimson Tide, were in line to receive their second national title trophy in four years, as true freshman Trevor Lawrence (a probable student to Watson’s words of advice) put on a show for the Santa Clara attendants to enjoy.
With fellow Clemson alumni who all donned the Orange and White by his side, namely star receivers Mike Williams and his own Texans teammate Deandre Hopkins, and other Clemson legends like DeMeco Ryans and Vic Beasley also gave the Tigers some extra motivation on the sidelines, per coach Dabo Swinney’s request.
The former standout Clemson QB-turned-first-round-pick for his Houston Texans could all but smile seeing his former classmates, and now graduates of the university, celebrate with spirits high as Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Hunter Renfrow and all of the Seniors hoisted their second golden College Football Playoff trophy. With all the post-game calamity ensuing, however, one ESPN radio host delivered harsh criticisms of the Texans Quarterback that drew undertone of derogatory rhetoric.
Jared Stillman, an ESPN Radio host out of Nashville who covers all Tennessee sports, tweeted about Watson’s choice of clothing at the National Title game. You heard that right, A franchise quarterback’s clothing…at his former school’s national title game.
It is an ongoing cultural disconnect when sports journalists create headlines about an Athletes’ wardrobe, and that discussion carried into Monday night when Stillman questioned his attire of a purple (a Clemson color) Balenciaga hoodie and plaid pants. The tweet, which only accumulated 15 retweets and about 183 likes, said this:
I know like I’m going to sound like an old pawpaw but seriously DeShaun Watson is a starting QB in the NFL and he couldn’t dress better? You’re not a corner or a WR. You’re a QB, you’re a brand.
— Jared Stillman (@JaredStillman) January 8, 2019
Look, it’s understandable when talking down on a division rival when your main responsibility is to cover all Tennessee sports, especially when a majority of hot topics come from the Titans. But these sentiments Stillman perpetuated clearly extend past the four boundaries of the field when you compare a quarterback’s clothing to that of a “wideout or defensive back”. We all know what territory Stillman is “subtly” crossing when that’s etched into a discussion about a quarterback of a cultural background’s “brand”.
Fortunately, Texans star receiver and good buddy of Watson DeAndre Hopkins had his back while quoting Stillman’s tweet, standing up for his quarterback, rehashing the undertone of the insensitive tweet.
The undertone is real!!! https://t.co/Gm0KWs6soZ
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) January 9, 2019
Clearly, Watson is in the right on this one. Not only is it silly and unnecessary to badmouth a professional athlete’s clothing when they aren’t in their in-game garments during their offseason, but it reverberates an age-old microaggression about athletes of different backgrounds dressing in a way that doesn’t fit a “perfect mold” that affects their brand and the perception of who they are. Watson’s response was the perfect response, and a pretty good clap back, per se.
Lmao! My brand is pretty solid JARED! I think I was very comfortable and chill to cheer on my University! https://t.co/TqXap88pLo
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) January 8, 2019
That might be a pretty funny meme for the next couple of days.