Last offseason, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension. Watson has been dissatisfied with the Texans and has attempted to force his way out of Houston; however, he has failed thus far.
Recently, Watson has been facing other – arguably more serious – issues outside of his desire to make a change.
Watson has been charged with multiple sexual assault lawsuits. The league knew about the alleged incidents; however, investigations into the claims did not begin until March 18.
The first lawsuit came almost a year ago on March 30, 2020, when Watson allegedly asked a woman to massage him. According to the lawsuit, Watson began to aggressively dictate how he wanted the massage to be performed. Watson allegedly told the plaintiff she was only to use her hands, and Watson repeatedly stated that he wanted her focus to be on his groin area.
The second lawsuit came on Aug. 28, 2020, when Watson allegedly asked another woman to massage him in his groin area. Watson flew this masseuse out to a hotel in Atlanta, Ga., and allegedly touched the woman inappropriately. According to the lawsuit, Watson’s behavior is viewed as part of a disturbing pattern of preying on vulnerable women.
The third lawsuit came on Dec. 28, 2020, which followed the same pattern of Watson allegedly asking a woman for a massage.
This allegation took place in a Houston office building. According to ESPN and the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that she felt “intimidated and threatened,” and “she was afraid of what someone like Watson could do if she did not submit to his demands.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that Watson repeatedly made it clear that he could “help, or hurt her career.” The lawsuit alleges that Watson forced the woman to perform oral sex on him and that she “did not consent.”
The fourth lawsuit came on Sept. 24, 2020, when Watson asked for treatment. According to the lawsuit, at some point during the session, Watson allegedly became aroused and got an erection. Watson continued to move his body in a way that would repeatedly cause his penis to touch the plaintiff’s hand. The plaintiff was shocked and moved away from him. Lying on the table on his back, Watson allegedly ejaculated. The plaintiff immediately stopped the session and left the room. The plaintiff felt violated and disgusted.
Lawsuits five through 16 follow the same patterns.
Lawyer Tony Buzbee stated that more allegations would continue to come forward. Buzbee is representing the women who are accusing Watson.
Some believe the timing of the lawsuits and the investigation is not a coincidence. The NFL and the Texans have known about the incident, but both the league and the team only decided to act on it when Watson consistently refused to play for the Texans.
At the time of the first public lawsuit, Watson went to Twitter to clear his name.
“As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me,” Watson said. “I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect. The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this isn’t about money, but before filing the suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected. Unlike him, this isn’t about money for me – it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”
This response was written on March 16, and it was the last time Watson commented on the lawsuits.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin fired back at Buzbee and denied all allegations.
“Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits during the past seven days in a manner calculated to inflame the public and malign (Watson’s) otherwise sterling reputation,” said Hardin. “The tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so we can fully investigate their claims makes uncovering the truth extremely difficult. Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims but opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate (Watson) before the truth-seeking process can even begin.”
Hardin also mentioned a woman blackmailing Watson for her “silence.”
Watson and Hardin intend to fight every allegation and lawsuit against Watson.
As of March 26, there has been no evidence that deems Watson as guilty.