NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Seeking Year-Long Deshaun Watson Suspension Over ‘Predatory Behavior’

by Nick Geddes

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters Tuesday to explain why he’s calling for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to be suspended one year for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Goodell pointed to the evidence presented in Watson’s disciplinary hearing which showed that the quarterback’s action were “egregious” and “predatory behavior.”

“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said, via ESPN. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”

Roger Goodell Wants a More Severe Punishment for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson was handed a six-game suspension last week at the recommendation of NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. The NFL formally opted to appeal the suspension, looking for a more severe punishment. Robinson noted in her 16-page report that the league wanted Watson suspended for the entirety of the 2022 regular season and postseason.

“As you know, it’s part of the CBA that two parties had the right,” Goodell said. “Either party could certainly challenge and appeal that and that was something we thought was our right to do… So we decided it was the right thing to do.”

Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions by 25 women. All the alleged incidents took place while he was a member of the Houston Texans between March 2020 and March 2021.

Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits in June. He agreed to settle three of the remaining four — the other dropped via a judge’s ruling in April. He was traded to the Browns in March and inked a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed deal.

The NFL has appointed Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal of Watson’s suspension. Harvey is a former New Jersey attorney general. Roger Goodell said Tuesday he didn’t know when Harvey would make his ruling.