Browns' Deshaun Watson Denies Misconduct Allegations Amid Mounting Lawsuits

Adam WellsJune 14, 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

Speaking to reporters for the first time in nearly three months, Deshaun Watson continued to deny the allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct levied against him.

"I never assaulted anyone," the Cleveland Browns quarterback said. "I've been saying it from the beginning, and I'm going to continue to do that."

Watson went on to say he "never assaulted, disrespected or harassed anyone" but that he does have "regrets as far as the impact that it's had on the community" (starts at 6:23 mark):

Cleveland Browns @Browns

Deshaun Watson speaking LIVE with the media <a href="https://t.co/qAx3the4ZB">https://t.co/qAx3the4ZB</a>

There have already been 24 civil lawsuits filed against Watson accusing him of sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage appointments. Nakia Cooper of KPRC 2 in Houston reported Monday that two more civil lawsuits are expected to be filed, bringing the total up to 26.

Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women against Watson, confirmed the additional lawsuits to Josh Voight of WEWS.

Buzbee noted one of the women was referred to him by an Atlanta-based lawyer, and the second saw HBO's Real Sports segment on Watson and the lawsuits that aired May 24.

Watson was asked by one reporter why he should be taken at his word instead of the 26 women who have either filed a civil lawsuit or will file a civil lawsuit against him:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Deshaun Watson asked by Browns reporters why he should be believed over 26 women: "I understand that question and I definitely respect it. ... I've been honest and I've truthful with my stance, I never forced anyone, I never assaulted anyone."

Asked about potentially settling the lawsuits, Watson said he wants to "clear my name and be able to let all the facts come out in the court of law."

Per a June 7 report from Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times, Watson met with at least 66 women for massages over a 17-month period between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2021.

The Houston Texans, who Watson played for during that time period, indirectly helped facilitate those sessions by providing him with a membership at a private hotel and club, according to Vrentas:

"It's unclear whether the Texans knew how many massages Watson was getting or who was providing them. But their resources helped support his massage habit away from the team. Watson acknowledged in a deposition that the Texans arranged for him to have 'a place' at The Houstonian. He used the fitness club, dined there and also set up massages in hotel rooms."

Watson didn't have a clear answer when asked Tuesday if Vrentas' report of 66 different massage therapists was accurate:

Ari Meirov @MySportsUpdate

Deshaun Watson was asked if the NY Times report of at least 66 massage therapists is accurate. He says "I don't think so," but later adds that the question should be directed to his attorneys.

The Browns announced March 20 they acquired Watson from the Texans. They also gave him a five-year, $230 million contract extension that is fully guaranteed.

Watson was formally introduced by the team during a March 25 press conference. His comments about the civil lawsuits at the time are almost identical to what he said Tuesday.

“I never assaulted any woman. I never disrespected any woman,” Watson told reporters.

Despite the additional lawsuits that have already been filed and at least two more to come, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported June 10 that the Browns aren't looking to void Watson's contract or the trade with the Texans.

Watson is also subject to potential discipline from the NFL under the personal conduct policy. The three-time Pro Bowler hasn't appeared in a game since the final regular-season game of the 2020 season.

The Texans kept Watson on their 53-man roster last season, but he was inactive for all 17 games.