As the scandal surrounding Deshaun Watson continues, Roger Goodell was asked about the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at the Houston Texans quarterback just before the 2021 NFL Draft opened on Thursday.
The commissioner chose his words carefully, but Goodell said the NFL is continuing to monitor the Watson situation closely:
It was reported that as many as eight teams were interested in trading for Watson after he made it known he wanted out from the Texans organization. Not long thereafter, a wave of accusations from over 20 women alleging sexual misbehavior surfaced, all of which Watson has denied.
While Watson continues the long process of seeing the legal process unfold in the mass amount of civil suits filed against him, Goodell has held firm that the NFL is viewing the case through the guise of the league’s personal conduct policy.
Deshaun Watson scandal leaves NFL, Houston Texans in tough spot
Although he doesn’t have a history of off-field issues that have come to light before now, Watson is potentially looking at a long suspension, and maybe even the end of his career, depending on the veracity of the allegations.
Goodell obviously wasn’t going to say too much when he was questioned on ESPN’s live telecast. Until the legal process plays out, the NFL, the Texans and Watson can’t say much of anything.
Houston is already in the midst of a daunting rebuild, and while Watson could’ve returned a huge haul if he were traded, his value has crashed for now. If the Texans or the NFL disparage him publicly and it ends up being, as Watson’s attorney says, “an avalanche of false accusations” then the team further alienates the QB.
On the other hand, not speaking out or supporting the women strongly enough who’ve come forward, in the event there’s truth to the allegations, is a bad look for everyone involved, too.
Watson’s future is very much up in the air, and even if he’s exonerated completely, he could still face disciplinary action from the NFL. This will, of course, continue to be a huge situation to monitor as the NFL offseason goes on.