Nonetheless, that's not what league Commissioner Roger Goodell — and at least half of the NFL's fanbase — thinks. Watson's situation was fishy from day one, and the fact that he and the Texans settled with so many people only makes things more suspicious.
That's why Commissioner Goodell didn't mince his words when talking about Watson. He claimed the Clemson product committed multiple violations and went as far as to call him a predator.
NFL News: Roger Goodell Goes After Deshaun Watson, Wants Him Suspended For A Year
When asked about why the league decided to pursue a heftier penalty, Goodell didn't hesitate to claim that the evidence proves that Watson was in violation of the league's CBA, so they have a right to punish him:
“Because we’ve seen the evidence,” Goodell said, as quoted byJames Palmer of NFL Network. “[Judge Robinson] was very clear about the evidence. That there were multiple violations here, and they were egregious an it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”
“As you know, it’s part of the CBA that two parties had the right,” Goodell said. “Either party could certainly challenge and appeal that and that was something we thought was our right to do. So we decided it was the right thing to do.”
At the end of the day, some will continue to defend Watson because he wasn't explicitly found guilty. But you don't have to be an attorney — or a genius — to realize that he may not have been on his best behavior.