Deshaun Watson’s lawyer said Friday that he would speak publicly about the sexual harassment charges leveled against the Houston Texans quarterback in the coming days, but details of their defensive plan against several civil lawsuits are starting to emerge.
According to several sources linked to Watson, he is “adamant” that he did not sexually harass any of the women who have filed civil litigation against him in Harris County, Texas.
According to the victims’ counsel, Tony Buzbee, the number of sexual harassment lawsuits lodged against Watson rose to seven on Friday, with five more pending, and he has talked to ten more women who still need to be interviewed.
The three-time Pro Bowler reportedly raped the massage therapists, with one saying she was forced to perform oral sex on Watson, according to Buzbee.
Another said that “it became clear that Watson only wanted a massage for one purpose — sex,” and that he was “aggressive” in his approach and touched her with his genitalia.
The vast majority of the women who have already filed lawsuits say Watson first contacted them via Instagram. Watson’s side told TMZ that he only reached out to the women via social media because his daily masseuse was inaccessible due to the COVID outbreak.
Watson sought advice from different friends, and according to TMZ, Watson “placed a focus on privacy” and defined the places he wanted massaged “to ensure the masseuse was relaxed and things stayed professional.”
In her complaint, at least one masseuse claimed that she found it “a little odd” that a “NFL player would request a massage from her, since she is not yet a well-known masseuse.”
According to sources close to Watson, the 25-year-old “insists” that he “never crossed the line” with the alleged victims, and that he “strongly suspects” they are being led by a “money-hungry solicitor” searching for a payoff.
In his first and only public remarks about the accusations, Watson said Tuesday on Twitter that he “never treated any woman with anything less than the utmost respect.”
According to the TMZ story, Watson, who signed a four-year extension worth $156 million in 2020, isn’t interested in monetary settlements with the women, and “he doesn’t want to give them a cent because he’s adamant he didn’t do anything wrong.”
In a press conference on Friday, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said the claims are “meritless” and urged people to “keep an open mind” before they can answer them publicly next week.
The NFL announced on Thursday that it was looking into the claims against Watson.