Houston-Over the past 16 days, as civil lawsuits against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson have accumulated, the NFL has ample time and patience.
Although lawyers blamed them through litigation and media statements, the alliance has been able to conduct due diligence without having to spend a lot of time conducting its own disciplinary investigation. Bottom line?If Watson is not part of the police investigation, then the NFL requirement is something Allegations about his status on the roster after allegations of sexual misconduct were eased.
On Friday, when the Houston Police Department announced that it had formally filed a complaint about Watson with the authorities, the situation changed significantly.
Harding said in the statement: “We welcome this long overdue development.” “Now, we will know the identity of at least one accuser. We will fully cooperate with the Houston Police Department.”
These two statements now put NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at a crossroads. Now, he has to deal with more and more allegations and investigations about Watson, which attracts Goodell’s selection and selection of players and incidents that he believes can be invoked on the commissioner’s exemption list. The exemption list is essentially a form of paid vacation for players, and it used to work when the authorities or the league (or both) began to classify allegations of criminal conduct.
The Houston Police Department processed a criminal complaint and launched its own investigation (although no details behind the complaint have been determined), and Watson seems to fit this description. This is a major change in status. Prior to this, Watson was only the target of initiating a civil lawsuit, which did not involve any criminal complaints, so a lawsuit could be filed. In essence, anyone can initiate a civil lawsuit at any time, but the facts prove that there is no evidence. However, the combination of civil lawsuits and criminal lawsuits that triggered police investigations has given the NFL a deeper understanding of its definition of what can be exempted from the list.
Therefore, these are the four realities that Goodell favors whether Watson should be included in the exemption list:
*The quarterback has 21 civil lawsuits alleging certain sexual misconduct, from harassment to assault.
*The 22nd woman claimed in an account in Sports Illustrated that she believed Watson had acted inappropriately during the massage.
*An undisclosed criminal lawsuit against Watson has been filed with the Houston Police Department.
*Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin stated that the criminal complaint is related to at least one current civil lawsuit against the player.
* The NFL plans to start team activities later this month, at which time Watson will be eligible to start an off game with the Texans (even if it seems unlikely).
According to the alliance’s personal behavior policy:
Players can be provided with paid administrative leave according to the Commissioner’s Exemption List in one of the following two situations:
First, when a player is officially charged with a crime of violence, it means that he is accused of using force or weapons to injure or threaten others, and accused of committing violence or sexual assault. People who cannot give consent, have engaged in other behaviors that pose a real danger to the safety or well-being of others, or who have engaged in animal cruelty. Formal charges can be in the form of a grand jury indictment, a prosecutor’s charge, or a subpoena in a criminal court.
Secondly, when the investigation leads the Commissioner to believe that the player may have violated this policy by committing any of the above actions, he can take action as circumstances and evidence permit. The decision will not reflect the determination of guilt or innocence, nor will it be guided by the same legal standards and considerations as in criminal trials.
So far, Watson has not been charged with a crime and does not apply to the first criterion. But the second criterion is wide open, which gives Goodell a lot of room for whether Watson “may violate” the personal conduct policy. Previously, Goodall could only make such a decision in his own league investigation (in progress). Now he has let the Houston Police Department conduct its own investigation.
The key at this moment is that Goodell doesn’t have to know that Watson violated the personal ethics policy. He only needs to believe that the quarterback “may be violated.” This is where the pressure starts to increase. Recalling 21 civil lawsuits alleging Watson’s sexual misconduct, plus the Sports Illustrated account that reflects some pending lawsuits and the criminal lawsuit filed with the Houston Police Department, The question for Goodall now begins to form.
If this is not the threshold for a situation in which Watson “may violate” the personal conduct policy, what is the threshold?
Eventually, Goodell will be forced to describe. The developments of Friday will play an important role in seeking answers.
More information from Yahoo Sports: