Goodell: Evidence shows need for year-long Watson suspension
"We've seen the evidence. (Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson) was very clear about the evidence ... there (were) multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior," Goodell said, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. "Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that's responsible."
The league officially appealed Robinson's six-game suspension of Watson last week. The discipline case will be handled by former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.
"Either party could certainly challenge and appeal that, and that was something that we thought was our right to do, as well as the NFLPA," Goodell explained. "So, we decided it was the right thing to do."
Robinson wrote in her report that Watson violated the NFL's personal conduct policy on three counts: sexual assault, conduct posing a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person, and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.
Twenty-four lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints accused Watson of lewd and coercive behavior while receiving massages from women. The cited incidents occurred between March 2020 and March 2021.
Grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal charges in March. He settled 20 of 24 civil lawsuits in June before settling three of the remaining four shortly before Robinson's ruling.
The Browns acquired Watson from the Houston Texans earlier this offseason. They then signed him to a five-year contract worth a record $230 million guaranteed.