The Houston Texans have settled with 30 of Deshaun Watson’s accusers. Here’s why
Watson, who is now on the Cleveland Browns, is at the center of four ongoing sexual misconduct lawsuits
Four months after trading Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans have reached settlements with 30 women who accused the quarterback of sexual misconduct during his time in Texas. Tony Buzbee, who represents the women, announced the news Friday.
“Today all of the women who have made, or intended to make, claims against the Houston Texans organization have resolved their claims. The terms of the settlements, to include the amounts paid each, are confidential,” Buzbee said in a statement.
He continued, “I will have no further comment on the allegations or the Texans’ alleged role, other than to say that there has been a marked contrast in the way in which the Texans addressed these allegations, and the way in which Watson’s team has done so.”
The women involved in the claims accused Watson, now on the Cleveland Browns roster, of harassing and assaulting them during massage appointments. He has not been charged criminally, but NFL officials are still considering whether to suspend Watson for part of all of the 2022-23 season, according to The New York Times.
That article highlighted legal records showing that the Texans organization may have had knowledge of some of the women’s concerns long before they were made public. “The Times’ review also showed that Watson’s conduct was enabled, knowingly or not, by ... the Houston Texans, which provided the venue Watson used for some of the appointments. A team representative also furnished him with a nondisclosure agreement after a woman who is now suing him threatened online to expose his behavior,” it said.
After receiving that paperwork from a team employee, Watson began regularly having women he hired to massage him sign NDAs, The New York Times reported.
“It’s unclear whether the Texans knew how many massages Watson was getting or who was providing them. But their resources helped support his massage habit away from the team,” the article said.
The Houston Texans denied knowledge of Watson’s “alleged misconduct” in a statement on the new settlements. Team owners Janice, Hannah and Cal McNair said the payments do not represent an admission of wrongdoing.
“Although our organization did not have any knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of wrongdoing, but instead a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and misconduct,” they said.
The statement continued, “We hope that today’s resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans and the Houston community at large. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and doing what we can to ensure respect for all.”
Since 2020, 24 women have filed lawsuits against Watson, and 20 of them have been settled. Four cases are still ongoing, as Buzbee explained in his statement Friday.
“We hope to try them all in the spring of next year. In the meantime, we will continue to do the important work to prepare,” he said.