As we went deeper into this NFL offseason, the biggest question seemed to be where would Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson end up playing next year.
Now there are much more ominous questions where Watson is concerned.
A week ago, controversial attorney and one-time Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee announced on social media that he would be filing a lawsuit on behalf of a licensed massage therapist against Watson, alleging sexual misconduct. That number grew by Monday night to 14 message therapists alleging inappropriate conduct and sexual assault in the last year at the hands of the highly respected and beloved Texans quarterback.
These allegations go against everything we think we know about Watson. But the number of complaints and with allegations that range from Watson exposing to himself to sexually assaulting women make us have look at this in a serious way.
This city has shown Watson nothing but love over these last four years and he has returned the love by being a winner on and off the football field.
But now these allegations come in the middle of a strained relationship between Watson and the Texans, specifically CEO and chairman Cal McNair. Watson has made it known he wants to be traded.
The Texans, meanwhile, have consistently vowed Watson isn’t up for a trade and that he will honor the four-year, $156 million contract extension he signed with the team in September.
With these serious allegations now at play, there seems to be many moving parts surrounding Watson. So we broke it down into three parts.
WHAT WE KNOW
- Buzbee announced on social media last week that one massage therapist had filed a lawsuit against Watson claiming sexual misconduct.
- Within a few days, that number jumped from one to seven lawsuits Buzbee filed on behalf of massage therapists claiming inappropriate conduct and sexual misconduct and with the promise of more to come. Buzbee is now claiming that his law office is vetting as many as 22 potential lawsuits by massage therapists against Watson.
- Watson issued a response after the initial allegation, saying he has “never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect.” And claiming that Buzbee asked for a six-figure lawsuit settlement before filing the lawsuit.
- As of Monday, the Houston Police Department had not launched a criminal investigation into the alleged crimes committed by Watson.
- The NFL has confirmed that it has began an investigation into the allegations against Watson and reviewing whether or not any of his actions violate the league’s personal conduct code. The Texans are deferring to the NFL.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
- There have been some allegations that Watson exposed himself, requested inappropriate touching and forced oral sex on at least one of the massage therapists, but the exact claims in each one of the lawsuits that have been filed remains unclear.
- Since Watson’s initial tweet claiming his innocence and vowing to clear his name and the introductory press statement from prominent defense attorney Rusty Hardin, we haven’t heard a response from Watson or his camp on the other alleged victims.
- Several NFL teams has been jockeying for position to trade for Watson, offering the Texans a king’s ransom in return. But his trade value is all but gone at this point because of the serious nature of the allegations and the optics of bringing about a franchise quarterback with such serious baggage.
WHAT CONCERNS US
- These allegations go far beyond Watson being demanding or overbearing and they are flat troubling if true.
- Given Watson’s visibility and reputation as an all-around good guy, why is this now just coming out just months after the franchise quarterback demanded a trade out of town?
- Buzbee claims to have no connection to the McNair family, which owns the Texans despite rumors of a long-standing friendship with deceased owner Bob McNair. Buzbee and the McNair family are River Oaks neighbors yet the attorney claims to not even know what CEO and chairman Cal McNair looks like.
- All of the alleged victims filed lawsuits against Watson and as of Monday none had filed any criminal charges.
- As an NFL player, Watson should have many masseuse options within the team yet he chose to solicit massage therapists on Instagram.