Deshaun Watson continued to deny the claims of sexual assault and misbehavior leveled against him, speaking to media for the first time in in three months.
“I never assaulted anyone,” the Cleveland Browns quarterback said. “I’ve been saying it from the beginning, and I’m going to continue to do that.”
Watson has already been named in 24 civil cases accusing him of sexual misconduct or assault during massage visits. Two more civil cases are scheduled to be filed, according to Nakia Cooper of KPRC 2 in Houston, bringing the total to 26.
The extra cases were confirmed by Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women against Watson, to Josh Voight of WEWS.
One of the ladies was sent to Buzbee by an Atlanta lawyer, and the other viewed HBO’s Real Sports feature on Watson and the lawsuits on May 24, according to Buzbee.
Watson was questioned by a reporter about why he should be believed instead of the 26 women who have filed or will file a legal case against him:
Asked about potentially settling the lawsuits, Watson said he wants to “clear my name and be able to let all the facts come out in the court of law.”
Per a June 7 report from Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times, Watson met with at least 66 women for massages over a 17-month period between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2021.
The Houston Texans, who Watson played for during that time period, indirectly helped facilitate those sessions by providing him with a membership at a private hotel and club, according to Vrentas:
“It’s unclear whether the Texans knew how many massages Watson was getting or who was providing them. But their resources helped support his massage habit away from the team. Watson acknowledged in a deposition that the Texans arranged for him to have ‘a place’ at The Houstonian. He used the fitness club, dined there and also set up massages in hotel rooms.”
Watson was acquired from the Texans by the Browns on March 20. They also granted him a fully guaranteed five-year contract extension worth $230 million.
The team held a press conference on March 25 to officially announce Watson. His remarks at the time about the civil litigation are nearly identical to what he said Tuesday.
“I never assaulted any woman. I never disrespected any woman,” Watson told reporters.
Despite the fact that two more lawsuits have been filed and at least two more are expected, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot stated on June 10 that the Browns aren’t attempting to nullify Watson’s contract or the transaction with the Texans.
Watson could possibly face NFL disciplinary action for violating the league’s personal conduct code. Since the final regular-season game of the 2020 season, the three-time Pro Bowler hasn’t played in a game.
Last season, the Texans kept Watson on their 53-man roster, but he didn’t play in any of the team’s 17 games.