Texans to Be Added as Defendants in Lawsuits Against Deshaun Watson, per Tony Buzbee

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 8, 2022

BEREA, OH - JUNE 01: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during 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

The Houston Texans will be listed as defendants in the 24 ongoing civil lawsuits accusing Cleveland Browns star Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or misconduct.

Tony Buzbee, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said Wednesday the Texans "facilitated Deshaun Watson's conduct" and that the team "was well aware of Watson's issues, but failed to act."

Sarah Barshop @sarahbarshop

In the statement, Buzbee says, "We believe the Texans organization was well aware of Watson’s issues, but failed to act." The Texans have said repeatedly that they were not aware of Watson's actions until March 2021 when the first lawsuit was filed against the quarterback. <a href="https://t.co/lNLHW2WwFN">pic.twitter.com/lNLHW2WwFN</a>

This follows new reporting from the New York Times' Jenny Vrentas on Tuesday.

After the first civil suit was filed against Watson in March 2021, the Texans said they "became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night" and added that "this is the first time we heard of the matter."

However, Vrentas reported one woman who has since filed suit against Watson had multiple massage sessions with the quarterback in which he made sexual advances. The woman shared text messages from Watson on Instagram in November 2020 and wrote she "could really expose" him.

Per Vrentas, Watson said in a deposition that soon after the Instagram post he notified the Texans' director of security, Brent Naccara. Watson said Naccara left a nondisclosure agreement in his locker following that conversation. The three-time Pro Bowler proceeded to bring the NDA with him to massage appointments.

Vrentas also reported the Texans had obtained a membership for Watson at The Houstonian, a private hotel and club. He had multiple massages at that location, though he said he wasn't aware of the team knowing the massages were happening there.

"One woman who gave Watson a massage at The Houstonian said she was told the room was registered to a member of the Texans’ training staff," per Vrentas.

Since the franchise launched in 2002, the Texans have had a contracting agreement with Genuine Touch Massage Therapy. Vrentas reported four of the at least 66 women who had massage appointments with Watson between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2021 worked for Genuine Touch.

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal charges in connection to the allegations, the civil suits remain ongoing. The 24th suit was filed Monday.

The 26-year-old is subject to potential punishment from the NFL as well since the league has yet to conclude its own investigation.