Monday, July 4, 2022

Roger Goodell says the NFL is ‘nearing the end of the investigation’ in the Deshaun Watson case

The Deshaun Watson investigation is almost wrapped up. At the league meeting in Atalanta on Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell told reporters that the league is nearing the end of its investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by 22 women against the Browns quarterback.

“I can’t give you a timeline (for a possible suspension),” Goodell said, via Cleveland.com. “We are nearing the end of the investigative period and then it will be handled by our disciplinary officer.”

NFL attorney Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney have been leading the investigation, and once that concludes they will hand over their findings to former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson, who will determine if any disciplinary action — a fine, suspension, or combination of the two — will be placed down on Watson. If Watson appeals any potential punishment, Goodell or his designee would handle that process and come up with a ruling.

Goodell’s comments come on the heels of Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, telling Cleveland.com on Friday that he expects the quarterback to be interviewed by the league again before the investigation officially wraps up. He also echoed that a decision is expected to come in the next few months. 

“We should know what their position is initially sometime in June, and then everybody will figure out if there’s going to be a hearing about it or can people work things out, or whatever,” Hardin said. “The only thing that’s certain is that they want to try to get everything done this summer — and earlier than later in the summer. Past that, we don’t really have any firm dates or possibilities.”

Watson was not indicted by two separate grand juries on criminal charges, but 22 civil suits against him are still pending, including 20 that accuse Watson of sexual assault. Two of those accusers, Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes, are being interviewed by Soledad O’Brien for the latest episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO on Tuesday night. While Watson declined HBO’s request to be interviewed, one of his lawyers, Leah Graham, was interviewed for the piece. 

If the NFL suspends Watson following this investigation, the Browns have quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs, and even Baker Mayfield as possible options to replace him for however long he’d be sidelined. 

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