NFL news: Roger Goodell warns Deshaun Watson could still face disciplinary action

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told a media conference that a league investigation could still sanction Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The 26-year-old might not be facing criminal charges, but that wouldn't stop the NFL from issuing him with a fine or suspension, according to commissioner Roger Goodell.

A grand jury has twice declined to indict Watson following allegations of sexual misconduct made by 22 women.

The charges relate to massage therapy sessions, and despite no criminal proceedings coming, there are ongoing civil lawsuits.

The NFL are also looking into the matter, and Goodell says that new Cleveland Browns quarterback Watson could still face league sanctions.

A suspension and fine could be handed out, regardless of the outcome of criminal or civil cases - with Goodell saying the NFL will make a decision based on its own investigation.

NFL investigating Deshaun Watson allegations

Deshaun Watson joined the Cleveland Browns from Houston

"Obviously, these are serious charges," said Goodell. "We're looking at this seriously. We now have at least resolution from the criminal side of it. Obviously there are still civil charges that are going on.

"So our investigators hopefully will have access to more information, and that will be helpful in getting to the conclusion of what are the facts and was there a violation of the personal-conduct policy.

"But that determination will be made by a joint disciplinary officer that was established by the NFLPA and the NFL. She will make that decision when the facts are all in, and we'll see. There's no time frame on that."

The Browns have been widely criticised for handing out a record fully guaranteed contract worth $230million to Watson despite his off-field issues.

By handing Watson a huge signing bonus and placing him in a league minimum $1m base salary for the season, Cleveland are thought to be protecting him against a fine.

Deshaun Watson may not escape big fine

Houston Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball during the game

Goodell, though, says the NFL will look at every other avenue of punishment should they find that Watson has violated their personal conduct policy.

"That's something that they will make the determination of when to do that, or who to do that with," added Goodell.

"They're the ones that met with some of the people that have information that we want to know. We will speak to everybody and try to get to the bottom line and the facts.

"We've been very clear with every club, whether the criminal matter gets resolved or not, the personal-conduct policy is something that's very important to us.

"The personal conduct policy does not need a criminal violation to be a violation of the personal conduct policy. They recognize that that's something we're going to pursue.

"We're going to make sure that we get to the bottom of the facts and make sure how it applies to the personal conduct policy, that's where we are at at this point.

"And when we get to that, a decision will be made on whether there should be any discipline and, if so, what is it."

READ MORE: Deshaun Watson denies sexual misconduct allegations

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