Deshaun Watson's Lawyer Rusty Hardin Releases Statement After 'Happy Ending' Remark

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2022

BEREA, OH - JUNE 01: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field as general manager Andrew Berry follows after the Cleveland Browns offseason workout at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on June 1, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Rusty Hardin, the lawyer representing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, released a statement Friday to clarify a comment he made about the legality of receiving a "happy ending" at the conclusion of a massage.

During an appearance on SportsRadio 610's Payne & Pendergast in Houston, Hardin said it is "not a crime" to engage in sexual activity during or after a massage as long as the sexual activities aren't paid for:

SportsRadio 610 @SportsRadio610

Deshaun Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin ended his interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/SethCPayne?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SethCPayne</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SeanTPendergast</a> this morning reminding the audience that "happy endings" to massages are not necessarily illegal. <a href="https://t.co/dkWBghW7Eg">https://t.co/dkWBghW7Eg</a> <a href="https://t.co/V0nOq1PeAi">pic.twitter.com/V0nOq1PeAi</a>

Watson is facing 23 civil lawsuits filed by women who have accused the quarterback of sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions.

Two grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges this year due to insufficient evidence.

Hardin referenced that fact in the statement he released Friday and also clarified what he was talking about during the interview:

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter

Rusty Hardin, Deshaun Watson’s attorney, sends out this statement after giving this radio interview in Houston: <a href="https://t.co/Y53SD0DoHP">https://t.co/Y53SD0DoHP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> <a href="https://t.co/CMqcigRLuH">pic.twitter.com/CMqcigRLuH</a>

The attorney noted that he was speaking generally and not specifically about Watson's case. Hardin also said Watson had consensual sex with three of his accusers and did not pay for sexual contact.

Hardin's comments echoed what Watson had said previously, as he admitted to having sex with three of the plaintiffs, calling the encounters consensual.

Amid the allegations and a trade request, Watson did not play at all for the Houston Texans last season.

After the first grand jury declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson, he was traded to the Browns in March for first-round picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024, as well as a 2023 third-round pick and fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024.

Cleveland also signed Watson to a fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million, marking the largest guaranteed deal in NFL history.

In four seasons with the Texans, the 26-year-old Watson was a three-time Pro Bowler, which explains why the Browns were willing to take a chance on him.

While Watson isn't facing any criminal charges currently, he is still facing a bevy of civil suits and could receive discipline from the NFL in the form of a suspension if it finds he violated the league's personal conduct policy.