January 25, 2019 / 12:06 AM / in a year

Saints' Watson calls Goodell's silence 'unbecoming' and 'detrimental'

Jan 20, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) leaves the field after an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Watson is retiring after the season. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Four days after the New Orleans Saints missed out on a likely Super Bowl appearance due to a missed call, tight end Benjamin Watson tweeted a message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, questioning his silence on the subject.

“We all realize that football is an imperfect game, played, coached and officiated by imperfect people,” Watson wrote. “What occurred last Sunday in New Orleans though, was outside of that expected and accepted norm. Your continued silence on this matter is unbecoming of the position you hold, detrimental to the integrity of the game and disrespectful and dismissive to football fans everywhere.

“From the locker room to Park Ave, accountability is what makes our league great. Lead by example. We are waiting.”

Though Saints head coach Sean Payton said after Sunday’s game that NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron confirmed the missed call via phone, the league has yet to issue an official comment on the matter. In the past, the NFL has released videos with Riveron — or former VP of officiating Dean Blandino, before Riveron assumed the job — explaining why particular controversial calls were made correctly or incorrectly.

The NFL’s rulebook technically could have provided latitude for Goodell to take action and change the outcome of Sunday’s game, but such action would have been unprecedented and would have had to happen promptly given the planning involved for a team headed to the Super Bowl.

Goodell was not at Sunday’s game — he was in Kansas City to watch the Chiefs face the Patriots — and he has not issued any public comments on the game or the call in question.

Watson, 38, did not play on Sunday after battling appendicitis during the week. He had said previously the 2018 season — his 14th in the NFL — would be his last.

Watson is one of the league’s most respected players. A vice president of the NFL Players Association, he was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2017 and has been a prominent voice on a variety of off-field subjects.

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