For Watt detractors, hate and envy blur the lines

I’ve been a fan of J.J. Watt from the get go. I sat in Reliant Stadium in 2011 and watched him, as a rookie, intercept Andy Dalton and take it in for a touchdown that would propel Houston to its first ever playoff victory. I have followed his on field exploits, as well as those off the field. Watt has done a lot in just five years in the NFL, but he’s done nothing that makes me hate him.

Whether it be Mike Francesa, Dan Le Batard, or some unnamed troll,  I continue to hear negative commentary about Watt. I don’t get it. Just this past week, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report came out with an article which cited an anonymous NFL assistant coach. The coach was quoted as saying, “does he want to be a model, or a football player?”. This was in response to a shirtless photo  posted by Watt on Instagram and Twitter.

Watt gets a lot of criticism for his social media presence as well as his off-season activities. This is ridiculous for so many reasons. First of all, to the aforementioned assistant coach. If you’re going to call him out, give your name so that he can respond. Second of all, if you looked like Watt, you’d probably be posting pictures too, and your wife wouldn’t be looking at you with such disgust.

We have been bombarded in recent years with athletes in trouble for sexual assault, domestic abuse, drug/alcohol abuse, and even murder (Aaron Hernandez). Yet there continues to be a ton of hate for a guy who has done nothing wrong. Oh, but wait. He does too many commercials. He’s a fake. He posts too many workout pictures.  He tries too hard. He’s going to host the CMT’s…gasp!

Might as well put the guy behind bars. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong. My question to detractors would be, “What would you do?”. Imagine being 27 years old, the best in the world at your profession, a multi-millionaire, single, good-looking, and charismatic. Would you sit at home all day and leaf through “Cat Weekly” magazines? So easy to hate when you’re resting your beer on your belly so you can grab another cheeto.

Here are some of the hate/envy arguments that I’ve heard:

Watt is a try hard – Since when is trying hard a bad thing? Watt works out obsessively and he’s proud of it. He works his ass off on every play, whether it be game or practice. If half of us (me included) had his work ethic, maybe we wouldn’t be suffering from high cholesterol and hypertension at 40.

Troll response:

By the way trolly mctrollerton, it’s you’re, not your. Maybe you should be a try hard, and try harder to grasp the English language.

Watt’s perfect response:

His teammates are tired of him – This has absolutely no basis in fact. A couple of examples. This offseason, Watt flew 20 of his teammates to his “cabin” in Wisconsin to workout and hangout.  Watt hosts a charity softball event every year. This year it had to be held at Minute Maid Park (Astro’s stadium) because it had gotten too big for the minor league park in Sugarland. Guess who the teams are comprised of? Yes, his teammates. They do it voluntarily, and because they love it. If Watt’s teammates are tired of him, they have a funny way of showing it.

His offseason activities distract him from football – Yes, I actually heard this, and it’s completely laughable. This is the anonymous assistant coach complaint. When has Watt’s performance on the field ever suffered? If anything, it just keeps getting better. All Watt did in 2015 was play through 5 partially or fully torn muscles in his groin and upper legs. He also played with a broken hand and a herniated disc. And the result…..17.5 sacks and another DPOY award, his third in five years.

He posts too much on social media – Now we are getting to the really pathetic arguments here. Watt is a millennial. How many millennials do you know who aren’t constantly posting stuff online? He posts pictures/videos of workouts, etc. And, because he is such a laboratory specimen, people (guys especially) wanna hate. This is the age of social media, get over it.

Watt is taking full advantage of his stardom and success. He’s not hurting anyone, other than maybe the egos of many husbands and boyfriends. As a matter of fact, his charity, bolstered by an annual softball game, has raised millions for after school activities. He does a ton for the people of Houston. He’s very generous with his time. Watt, early on, would personally hand out candy to trick or treaters from his home in Pearland. That had to be shut down because the crowds were getting too big.

So criticize Watt if you want, but come up with a good argument. Because, from where I’m sitting, all I can see are 298 tackles, 74.5 sacks, 79 tackles for loss, 15 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions, and 6 touchdowns. Oh, and I also see 3 Defensive Player of the Year awards, 4 first team all-pros, 4 pro bowls, and a future bust in Canton. What exactly are you seeing?

Follow me at @UltTexansTalk

Header image, “NFL News Desk Admin” by NFL News Desk (CC BY ND-2.0) 

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