I could write a new article with new information about Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s ongoing legal battles. I’m trying not to. But the information is out there, and coming in every day. I haven’t even gotten to the 24th lawsuit yet, which was just recently filed. So let’s start there.
A 24th lawsuit was filed alleging that Watson engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with one of numerous massage therapists that he employed privately during his time with the Houston Texans. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement that didn’t exactly overflow with confidence, strongly implying that these were fresh allegations they were not aware of, in contrast to the 3rd lawsuit also recently filed, catching them off-guard.
Meanwhile, Jenny Vrentas for the New York Times recently put all of the allegations under the microscope, revealing a total of at least 66 different women from whom Watson arranged a professional massage over a 17-month period. Some have also made allegations against Watson without filing formal lawsuits.
Worse still, she also elaborates on the possible role that the Texans themselves played in enabling Watson to carry out these massage appointments, at least three of which he acknowledges ended in sexual encounters, with dozens of others also having alleged to have ended up reaching, or headed toward, the same path.
Among the ways through which Watson’s massage appointments were aided by the Texans, Vrentas writes, are supplying the venue at which some of the massages were physically conducted, and providing him with a nondisclosure agreement after one of the massage therapists, who is now suing him, threatened to bring her allegations public online.
As the piece points out, Watson has acknowledged hiring roughly 40 different women for massages, but evidence was found of at least 66 different women over the span of time between the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2021—which is when the first lawsuits were filed against him.
Vrentas spoke to some of these women who were confirmed to have set up massage appointments with Watson but had not come forward with their allegations, one of whom said that the quarterback persisted in “begging” her to perform oral sex on him. She is quoted as having asked Watson what it was like to be famous, noting, “You’re about to mess up everything”.
Perhaps most insidious—beyond the actual allegations of sexual assault—are revealing text messages and other social media exchanges between Watson and prospective massage therapists, in which he uses manipulative tactics to set up appointments, even at inconvenient times for the woman in question, telling some that he wanted to ‘support black-owned businesses’.
There are so many layers to this onion, including a reportedly ‘noteworthy’ amount of communication between Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, and prosecutors working on the trials. There was the business owner Watson paid $5,000 to who arranged to have several of the women who work at her spa sent to Watson for private massages—and how much she knew about it all. Most of those women are among those suing him.
Then there’s the suite at The Houstonian where at least seven women met Watson to perform massages, again, the majority of whom of sued him or filed a criminal complaint. A suite provided to him through the Texans, purportedly in the name of a team trainer. To which sessions Watson carried the NDA provided to him by the Texans’ head of security, and which he told at least one massage therapist that she must sign in order for him to be able to pay her.
Still upset the Steelers didn’t trade for him?