The Houston Texans have settled with 30 women who have agreed to file claims against the NFL organization over their alleged role in allegations of inappropriate sexual misconduct against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in massage sessions, the women’s attorney Tony said Buzbee, in a statement Friday.
One of the 30 women filed a civil lawsuit against the Texans in June, accusing the team of “enabling Watson’s behavior.” Buzbee said that case, too, will be settled. He did not disclose the terms of the 30 settlements.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then-franchise quarterback in March 2021,” Texas owners Janice McNair, Hannah and Cal McNair said in a statement Friday. “Although our organization was not aware of Deshaun Watson’s alleged wrongdoing, we made a conscious decision to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of wrongdoing, but a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and wrongdoing.
“We hope that today’s resolution will offer some sort of closure for the parties involved, our fans and the entire Houston community. As an organization we will now focus on the future and do everything we can to ensure respect for all. “
In June, Watson settled 20 of 24 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct while playing for the Texans. He was accused by 25 women in civil cases of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. One of those lawsuits was dropped after the judge ruled that the petition had to be amended with the plaintiff’s name.
Buzbee did not reveal the identities of the other six women who agreed to make claims against the Texans.
“I will not comment further on the allegations or the Texans’ alleged role, other than to say that there is a distinct difference between the way the Texans have addressed these allegations and the way Watson’s team has done so has.” Buzbee said in his statement on Friday.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to enter charges against Watson earlier this year. Watson has maintained his innocence. The Texans traded Watson for the Browns in March after the first grand jury announced it would not indict him.
NFL Disciplinary Chairperson Sue L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, is currently evaluating whether Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Watson had a three-day hearing before Robinson in late June, and sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that the league had advocated a ban of at least a year.
If Robinson issues a suspension, Watson will have an opportunity to appeal the sentence to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell under the league’s 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The New York Times reported in June that Watson booked dates with at least 66 different women over a 17-month period from fall 2019 to spring 2021.
The list of 66 includes the 24 women who have filed lawsuits against Watson; a woman who sued Watson but then dropped the lawsuit; two women who filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him; at least 15 therapists who have made statements of support for Watson at the request of his attorneys; at least four therapists under contract with the Texans; five women identified by plaintiffs’ attorneys during the investigation of their lawsuits; and at least 15 other women whose dates with Watson have been confirmed through interviews and records verified by the Times.
The Times also reported that the non-disclosure agreement that Watson gave some of the women to sign came from Texans safety director Brent Naccara. The Times reports that days after a woman posted Watson’s phone number on Instagram, the NDA was at Watson’s locker at NRG Stadium.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34248377/houston-texans-settle-claims-vs-team-relation-sexual-misconduct-allegations-involving-deshaun-watson Houston Texans settle claims vs. team in relation to sexual misconduct allegations involving Deshaun Watson