Deshaun Watson Lawsuits Will Not Reach Settlements 'Anytime Soon,' Says Tony Buzbee

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2021

ARCHIVO - En esta fotografía de archivo del 3 de enero de 2021, el quarterback de los Texans de Houston, Deshaun Watson, se retira de la cancha antes del partido de la NFL contra los Titans de Tennessee en Houston. (AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith, Archivo)
AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith, Archivo

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 women who have filed civil lawsuits against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, said Thursday that no settlements are imminent.

As part of a statement on Instagram, Buzbee wrote: "As I've said: There will not be a settlement, at least anytime soon."

In the lawsuits, the 22 women allege inappropriate behavior by Watson ranging from sexual misconduct to sexual assault after he hired them to perform massage services.

The lawsuits were filed in March and April, and Watson has denied all allegations levied against him.

Per ESPN Sarah Barshop, Watson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, filed an answer to the lawsuits in April, writing: "These range from being misleading, to fraudulent, to slanderous. Importantly, only two of the twenty-two lawsuits allege that Mr. Watson forced any type of sexual activity--an allegation Mr. Watson again vehemently denies."

As part of the statement Buzbee released Thursday, he responded to speculation regarding why he hasn't been as active with the media as of late:

"The press folks say we've gone 'quiet,' but the truth is we made clear early on that we wouldn't try these cases in the press and now are doing the important work required for our clients to try these cases to a jury. It's a lot of work! I would also point out that on a daily basis our firm proudly handles cases for people who have lost loved ones, for people burned beyond recognition, for workers who have had their lives ruined, for people hurt, for people discriminated against, for people wronged, and for people defrauded. Our firm will keep doing that. Thanks for your interest! Stand by."

Last month, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted a statement from Hardin in which he said Buzbee approached him in search of settlements for his clients "on numerous occasions."

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Interesting statement for #Texans QB Deshaun Watson’s lawyer on the possibility of a settlement, saying, “There would be no settlement unless the terms are made public and all participants are allowed to speak in their own defense at all times.” pic.twitter.com/NO5GY8FcAF

Buzbee later took to Instagram to deny what Hardin said, writing: "When they approached us they insisted we sign this [non-disclosure agreement]. We obviously didn't reach out to them; they begged us via the Texans to mediate. We hold the cards. The truth sometimes or most of the time hurts!!!! We approached them?!? My ass."

The NFL opened an investigation of the allegations against Watson in March, and Buzbee told Fox 26 in May that four of his clients had spoken to NFL investigators.

Watson had already reportedly requested a trade from the Texans before the lawsuits were filed against him, and the cases have added even more uncertainty to his playing status.

Any potential trades are likely in limbo as teams wait to see if Watson will be disciplined by the NFL.

Watson did not report to the Texans for mandatory minicamp, and if the lawsuits are not resolved by training camp, Watson may not be present for that either.

Should Buzbee succeed in taking some or all of the lawsuits to trial, it could be months or years before any resolutions are reached.