It’s been nearly three months since the first of 22 lawsuits was filed against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging misconduct during massage therapy sessions. The NFL has had a full and fair chance to conduct a preliminary investigation. Soon, the NFL should decide whether Watson will be placed on paid leave pending the resolution of those cases.
As explained a few weeks back, the league has broad discretion to decide whether to utilize the Commissioner Exempt list for Watson, even in the absence of formal criminal charges. If the investigation causes Roger Goodell “to believe” that Watson “may have violated” the Personal Conduct Policy by engaging in a “felony offense,” a “crime of violence,” or a “sexual assault by force,” Goodell can place Watson on paid leave.
Whether Goodell already has or hasn’t come to that conclusion, it’s only fair that Goodell come to some conclusion before training camp starts. Goodell will have had more than four months to make a decision as to whether Watson “may have violated” the policy in one of the various ways that justify placement on paid leave. For the Texans and Watson, it shouldn’t be a guessing game when the time comes for Watson to show up for training camp.