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Multiple Women Question NFL's Handling of Interviews in Deshaun Watson Investigation

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 14, 2021

AP Photo/Justin Rex

Two of the women who have filed civil lawsuits accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or misconduct took issue with the line of questioning they faced from NFL investigators.

Speaking to Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated, Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley expressed their belief that investigators Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney were "victim-blaming" when asking them about their sexual misconduct allegations about Watson.

All of the 22 women who have filed civil lawsuits against Watson are represented by attorney Tony Buzbee, and 10 of them have spoken to the NFL thus far.

The allegations against Watson all relate to his conduct during massage sessions. Ten women have also filed police reports, with two reports filed by women who haven't filed lawsuits against Watson.

Solis said the investigators asked her what she was wearing when she massaged Watson. Solis noted that the question "really pissed me off," before adding: "She explained that that's something that she has to ask—which I don't believe at all."

Baxley said she had a similar experience with NFL investigators, calling them "patronizing." Baxley praised the Houston Police Department, however, saying they were "very respectful and trauma-informed."

Buzbee said he was not present for the NFL's first three interviews with his clients, but did sit in on the fourth one in an effort to "reset the tone," per Vrentas. Buzbee added that subsequent interviews have gone better.

Watson, who has denied all allegations through his attorney, Rusty Hardin, has been with the Texans at training camp despite the fact that he requested a trade earlier this offseason.

While Watson has taken part in practice drills, Texans head coach David Culley said it is "unlikely" he will play in the team's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday and said he had "no comment" when asked if Watson would play at all during the preseason.

The NFL investigation is meant to determine whether Watson violated the league's personal conduct policy. If it is determined he did, a suspension for some or all of the 2021 season is possible.

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