According to Goodell, the police investigation into Watson is ongoing. Therefore, the NFL doesn’t have access to enough information to make an official decision on Watson just yet.
“Obviously, the police have been investigating also. We don’t have all the access to that information at this point in time,” Goodell said. “… We pride ourselves in that and being as cooperative as we can to make sure we get all of the facts. I think that process is still ongoing.”
Goodell’s first comments on Watson in what feels like forever quickly went viral on social media. Some are taking the commissioner’s comments as a clear sign that Watson won’t be punished this season.
“A not-so subtle message to potential trade partners: make the deal and I won’t get in the way,” sports radio host John Lopez said of Goodell’s thinking.
— John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports) October 27, 2021
Other fans – Dallas Cowboys fans in particular – pointed out that Goodell has punished players in the past when the whole story hasn’t exactly been clear.
But Zeke…man Goodell is so bad at this. https://t.co/L54q4wj5pS
— Dan Ruppert (@Dan_Ruppert) October 27, 2021
Goodell is right to wait for complete information before making a rash decision on Watson. However, while the NFL gathers information, the commissioner’s exempt list seems a logical place for Watson to be at this point.
If he’s traded to a new team in the next week, right now, he’d be eligible to play. An NFL quarterback playing football with over 20 lawsuits of sexual misconduct against him might not send the right message.