Speaking at a league meeting called to approve the purchase of the Denver Broncos, Goodell explained why the league is seeking at least a one-year suspension for Watson.
“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell told ESPN. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”
The league appointed former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to hear their appeal of Watson’s suspension last week. Goodell added that he does not know when Harvey’s ruling would be made.
Watson is accused of sexual misconduct during message therapy sessions with 25 women between March 2020 and March 2021 while he was the quarterback of the Houston Texans.
A pair of Texas grand juries declined to bring criminal charges against Watson earlier this year. Watson has since settled 23 of 24 lawsuits thus far. The 25th was dropped.
After acquiring Watson from Houston in March, Cleveland handed him a five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract, the largest deal in NFL history.
The Steelers are scheduled to play the Browns in Week 3 on Sept. 22 and in Week 18 on Jan. 7 or 8, so the difference between a six-game or a full-season suspension could mean the difference between the Steelers facing Watson once or not at all in the 2022 season.
Journeyman backup Jacoby Brissett is expected to start for the Browns while Watson is suspended.