Tony Buzbee: Deshaun Watson's 6-Game Suspension 'Isn't Even a Slap on the Wrist'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2022

AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the women who made sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Deshaun Watson, criticized the six-game suspension handed down to the Cleveland Browns quarterback.

"Six games isn't even a slap on the wrist," Buzbee told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "It's a kiss on the cheek."

The six-game ban was handed down by Sue L. Robinson, the NFL and NFLPA's jointly appointed independent disciplinary officer who oversaw the case. Although the ruling didn't come from the NFL, the league received criticism for how it approached the investigation into whether Watson violated its personal conduct policy.

Twenty-four women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions. The NFL interviewed 10 of the initial 22 women, and CBS Sports HQ's Josina Anderson reported only four cases were presented by the league during Watson's hearing.

"I have no explanation why the NFL only spoke to 10 of my clients and only presented four of those 10," Buzbee said Thursday. "It really makes you want to scratch your head and wonder what the hell is going on."

He went on to further criticize the process:

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Tony Buzbee on NFL disciplinary process said 10 of his clients met with NFL investigators: 'We never expected much from their flawed process.'

Tom Withers @twithersAP

Attorney Tony Buzbee, representing alleged victims in Watson case, said NFL "bungled" investigation. Called league's discipline policies "jumbled mess" and "inconsistently dismal."

A.J. Perez @byajperez

Buzbee said the first question asked to one of the clients interviewed by NFL investigators was about what that massage therapist was wearing during her encounter with Watson.

The NFL has filed an appeal of Watson's suspension, with ESPN's Jake Trotter reporting the league is looking to suspend the three-time Pro Bowler for a minimum of one year. According to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, neither NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell nor anybody else from the league office will handle the appeal.

Buzbee remains skeptical regarding the matter:

Ben Axelrod @BenAxelrod

Buzbee: "We're here today with a message to the NFL. That message is simple and hopefully clear: every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now. And this idea that Mr. Goodell is going to hand it off to someone independent, we don't buy it."

Judy Battista @judybattista

Tony Buzbee, attorney for dozens of Deshaun Watson's accusers, held press conference about the discipline. Buzbee said every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now. "Mr. Goodell, what will you do? It's never too late to do the right thing."

Buzbee also addressed the impact the suspension and the absence of any criminal charges against Watson—two grand juries declined to indict—has had on his clients:

Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot

Tony Buzbee said one of his clients said <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> Deshaun Watson's 6-game suspension 'made me feel defeated.' Another: 'I feel like we're invisible'

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Tony Buzbee said the elected DA (Kim Ogg) 'failed these women' with no indictments handed down. Two Texas grand juries declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes. He has maintained his innocence throughout process while being represented by Rusty Hardin

He provided an update on the civil suits brought forward, confirming that all but one of the 24 suits have been settled and will be dismissed in due time.

Having already resolved 30 claims against the Houston Texans tied to the allegations against Watson, Buzbee added he doesn't intend to pursue further action against the team.

The Texans' role in Watson's alleged misconduct came under scrutiny following a report from The New York Times' Jenny Vrentas.

Per Vrentas, Watson said in a deposition he had been supplied with a non-disclosure agreement from Texans' head of security, Brent Naccara. He subsequently took the NDA to massage appointments. The Texans also supplied Watson with membership to a Houston-area hotel and fitness club where he had some appointments.


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