Deshaun Watson is a great guy to be around, according to his new teammates, particularly running back Nick Chubb. The Cleveland Browns quarterback who has a couple hundred million dollars coming his way over the course of the next half-decade was given the royal treatment within the NFL this offseason. But he still has legal hurdles to climb that will most likely result in an eventual suspension.
As you are surely aware by now, the veteran quarterback may have had criminal charges against denied, but he was still facing 22 civil suits about his conduct with dozens of massage therapists, interactions that he is accused of turning into non-consensual sexual encounters.
Why am I saying was? Well, you already know because you wouldn’t have gotten here without reading the headline. It’s not because he settled the lawsuits. It’s because the number of lawsuits he’s facing is now 23 after another accuser came forward and decided to pursue legal action against him.
Notably, the lawsuit claims that Watson offered each of his accusers $100,000 to settle out of court and drop the cases, but the majority of them declined to accept that due to the aggressive non-disclosure agreements that were involved.
This 23rd accuser alleges that she gave Watson a massage on three separate occasions, and that his behavior “grew worse” with each successive session, beginning in mid-2020. His interactions culminated in him exposing his genitalia to the plaintiff, touching her between her legs, and “repeatedly” asking to have sex with her.
Watson and his legal representatives have already acknowledged that some sexual interactions had taken place between himself and some of his accusers, but maintained that they were consensual; however, it still causes a serious problem for his case that he engaged in sexual behavior with multiple massage therapists, as it raises the question of what his ultimate intentions were in booking the massages.
Of course, so does the fact that he sought out seemingly random massage therapists via social media platforms such as Instagram, and the fact that he somehow needed the services of several dozen different massage therapists over the course of his tenure with the Houston Texans.
Watson’s team responded by vehemently denying the charges, which they maintain are not new, only further exaggerated now that they have come in the form of a lawsuit. The plaintiff has stated that she decided to move forward with her case now after seeing other accusers appear on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. She says that Watson saying through a statement that he has “no regrets” about his interactions and that he did nothing wrong “solidified her resolve”.
Of course, there isn’t a huge difference in the number of cases you’re facing accusing out of sexual misconduct (rising to sexual assault in some) when you start getting into the teens and 20s. 22, 23, there isn’t a huge practical difference. But the timing does remind that there can always be more cases—both civil and criminal—brought forth down the line.