Many have wondered if the NFL would put Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on paid leave due to the 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints he faces from women alleging misconduct.
On Tuesday, the league said that they would not be moving Watson to that status. A statement released by the league says that they continue to investigate the allegations against Watson, but that they are not moving to limit his participation in football activities at this time.
“The NFL’s review of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson remains ongoing and active,” the statement said. “We are working cooperatively with the Houston Police Department and ensuring that the NFL’s inquiry does not interfere with their investigation. As we continue to gather additional information and monitor law enforcement developments, we will make appropriate decisions consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy. At this time there are no restrictions on Watson’s participation in club activities.”
PFT has learned, via a league source, that the league has not been given access to many of the plaintiffs in the civil suits or other parties with relevant information. They also don’t have access to evidence in the criminal complaints as those cases are currently open.
While Watson wants to be traded to a new team, he reported to training camp to avoid daily fines of $50,000. His availability is of obvious impact to any chances of a deal coming together, but the league could still move to place him on paid leave should the information available cause a change in their approach to Watson’s case.