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Lauren Baxley Explains Why She Has Refused to Settle Lawsuit with Deshaun Watson

Doric SamAugust 19, 2022

Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlements in all but one of the civil lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual assault or sexual misconduct during massages. On Friday, the woman who is holding out explained her refusal to settle her suit, pointing to Watson's lack of remorse.

"I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they have not included any sincere acknowledgment of remorse and wrongdoings, nor have they included any promises of rehabilitative treatment," Lauren Baxley wrote in an essay for the Daily Beast.

On Thursday, the NFL and NFLPA reached a settlement on discipline for Watson for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Watson will be suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 regular season and pay a $5 million fine. He is also required to "undergo a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program."

After the suspension was announced, Watson spoke with the media and maintained his innocence: "I'll continue to stand on my innocence, just because you know settlements, and things like that happen doesn't mean that a person is guilty for anything."

Baxley stated in her essay that Watson's continued refusal to admit wrongdoing is why she is standing firm in her lawsuit against him.

"Watson still refuses to admit that he harassed and committed indecent assault against me," she wrote. "Any settlement offer he has made has been a dismissal of his evil actions, and I know that unless there is an authoritative intervention, he will continue his destructive behavior."

In total, 25 lawsuits were filed against Watson. One of the lawsuits was dropped because of privacy concerns from the plaintiff. Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against the quarterback. Watson then settled 23 of the remaining lawsuits.

Former federal judge and NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson determined after an investigation that Watson would receive a six-game suspension, but the NFL appealed her decision. Robinson said in her findings that Watson had committed "non-violent sexual assault," a notion Baxley dismissed.

"I will say again: All non-consensual sexual acts are a violence, particularly when the predator far outweighs his victims in physical stature and influential power," Baxley wrote. "And inherent and unspoken threats are just as damaging to the psyche as explicit threats. I will never cease my attempts to educate on this point."

Watson's suspension begins Aug. 30. He will be eligible to play in Week 13 when the Browns visit his former team, the Houston Texans.

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