Watson, We Have a Problem
Since the end of their regular-season finale, the Houston Texans knew they were going to be in for a dramatic offseason. Coming off a 4 win season and a third-place finish, significant changes were in order.
On January 28th, their franchise QB, Deshaun Watson, requested a trade to make matters worse. Despite having a no-trade clause installed in a four-year, $156 contract extension, he signed in September.
The Texans boat was nowhere near on course. With no clear plan for a rebuild, it appears their ship has hit an iceberg. Fast forward a few months, and Watson’s situation is even direr than the Texans.
January 28th, 2021
The day it all began, well officially, that is. After all, Watson had been unhappy with the process since early January. Whether that be due to D-Hop’s shipment, the direction of the team, or perhaps the signing of new head coach David Culley. It was at this point, Watson officially requested his ticket out of Houston.
Later, Watson laid down a three-team shortlist, including the Broncos, 49ers, and Dolphins. The ball was now officially in the hands of the front office. Watson had all the leverage, and the Texans knew it.
Regardless they were screwed. Either they keep a disgruntled player, or they lose one of the best young players in the NFL. The Texans instead held firm with their hand. Continuing to insist that they had no intentions to trade Watson and that he is their guy. Despite teams offering a king’s ransom worth of picks.
Up until March 16th, everything was bliss for the Texans. They could continue to field calls for Watson or simply wait for him to show up to team facilities. Only things were bliss no longer.
On this date, Tony Buzbee announced he is filing suit against Deshaun in an Instagram announcement. Citing a sense of pride to represent those who have no power against those [Watson] with power. His use of those certainly makes it appear Buzbee knew there a grander event was at the helm.
At this time, Buzbee had only filed two lawsuits, both of whom filed as Jane Doe. One incident occurring at a massage therapist’s home and the other at a Hotel, Club, and Spa. Both alleged that Watson exposed himself and even touched the therapists with his penis. The first plaintiff would go on to say, Watson wanted…sex.
Watson would shortly respond, calling Buzbee a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer. He also denied the allegations stating he doesn’t treat women with anything other than the utmost respect.
In turn, Watson appointed Rusty Hardin to defend him. Hardin has also defended Adrian Peterson in his child-abuse case back in 2014.
A day later, another lawsuit was filed in similar behavior to the first two. Watson became aggressive and forceful, telling the therapist to move her hand down to his public area. Resulting in Watson forcing oral sex that the plaintiff did not consent to.
It was here where Lisa Friel, who resides on the NFL’s special counsel, announced that the NFL will begin investigating Watson. Friel would even ask Buzbee to cooperate along with his clients. In response, Buzbee said they will cooperate to the extent we can do so.
During this date, four more lawsuits stemmed. Bringing the grand total to seven. Each just likes the other, citing inappropriate behavior during massages.
The count doubles, bringing us to 14 lawsuits. However, this one includes an allegation that occurred in March of 2021, which would be the most recent accusation of the 14. One case even called Watson a serial predator.
Significant, considering Buzbee described Watson’s behavior as a disturbing pattern of preying on vulnerable women. Again, it seems Buzbee knew from the get-go that there was more significant fruit hanging from the tree. He would later go on to say that he planned to file a minimum of 12 total cases.
Since the 22nd, five more lawsuits were filed. Again, all are pointing to similar disturbing behavior from Watson. Including purposely touching the plaintiffs with his penis.
The case also takes an interesting turn as the suit states Watson is deleting Instagram messages in an attempt to settle.
Hardin and his team would go on the defense, claiming Watson deletes previous messages like a lot of people. Hardin would later deny that his defendant has attempted to settle through Instagram or personal contact.
Later details would report that Hardin also accused a plaintiff of blackmail. It has been reported that one woman asked for $30,000 in exchange for her indefinite silence. Watson’s team denies paying the ransom.
Two more lawsuits are filed, bringing us to 21 total. This time with details more disturbing than the priors. Alleging that Watson groped a masseuse, forced oral sex, and then proceeded to ejaculate on her.
A day later, and Watson and his team made a very defensive move. They released statements from eighteen women with claims that Watson never made them feel uncomfortable. Hardin states these women are voluntarily providing messages of support, accrediting their names with their voice of support.
Rapidly approaching a month since the first lawsuit, civil lawsuit number 21 has been filed. With similar allegations as well. However, the plaintiff does claim that Watson has had more than 50 different women for massages.
But it is unknown if that number is a claim of how many women Watson has sexually assaulted or if it includes the number of women that Watson has treated with the utmost respect.
On this date, the Houston Police have also begun an investigation of Watson, but he is not facing criminal charges as of now.
Three days later and suit number 22 was filed. This time Watson told her he would not pay unless she signed an NDA.
All the lawsuits have been filed anonymously until April 6th, when the first two women (of 22 total), Ashely Solis and Laura Baxley, went public with their cases.
It’s been back and forth between two lawyers. Each strategically taking their stance, gearing up for what is set up to be an extensive case. However, on April 7th, a significant domino took a tumble, one that is not in Watson’s favor.
At this time, Nike suspended their contract with Watson. Citing concern for the disturbing allegations in a recent statement. Nike will continue to closely monitor the situation.
Reliant Energy would follow in Nike’s footsteps. Stating they have terminated their contract with Watson and have no plans for future engagements or contracts with him. Keep in mind that Reliant Energy also owns the naming rights of the Texans’ stadium.
On the same day, a third sponsor, Beats by Dre, would cut ties with Watson. No statement was issued by Beats at this time.
Watson continues to hold partnerships with Rolex, H-E-B, and Lefty’s Famous Cheesesteaks. As of now, they have not yet ended terminated their partnership. However, that does not indicate that they will cease or continue to sponsor Watson in the near future.
Today, a few more lawyer like activities took place. As Watson’s attorney filed a motion for an emergency hearing, in which Buzbee will have to identify one of the women who have filed a lawsuit.
Hardin states the use of anonymity violates Texas law and fairness. He goes on to state that Buzbee is using it as a sword, shielding his clients from public scrutiny.
It appears that Hardin believes that Watson will only be able to fully defend himself if the identities of Jane Doe are revealed.
For the Texans, they are in a highly delicate situation here. Regardless, they should be planning for their future, whether that be with Watson or without. Their sole focus should be on rebuilding this team and fielding the best unit they possibly can come time September. Whether that means severing ties with Watson and finding their new franchise QB will remain a mystery.
As for Watson, well, just see above.