Watson, as well as many other of the team’s starters, will play against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Browns announced on Wednesday.
The decision, handed down last week by former federal judge Sue. L Robinson, came as a result of Watson’s “predatory conduct.”
When asked why the league continues to seek a harsher punishment for Watson, Goodell said: “Because we’ve seen the evidence. (Robinson) was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence that there was multiple violations here and they were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”
“Those are things that we always felt were really important for us to address in a way that’s responsible,” Goodell continued.
The league appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the NFL’s appeal.
According to the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2020, Harvey’s ruling “will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s), and parties’ to the CBA.”
Watson has repeatedly denied the accusations.
“I’ve never assaulted, I never disrespected, and I never harassed any woman in my life,” Watson has said. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Twenty-four civil lawsuits were filed against Watson; 23 have been settled confidentially. Two grand juries in Texas declined to charge Watson criminally.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Watson did not play last season with the Texans because of a trade demand as well as the investigations into these allegations.
Earlier this year, the Browns traded three first-round picks for Watson and then signed him to a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract, the most guaranteed money in NFL history.