Dabo Swinney 'Disappointed' in Deshaun Watson Allegations, but 'I Love Him'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney holds the champions trophy as Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson looks on after the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Clemson won 31-0 to advance to the BCS championship game on Jan. 9th against Alabama. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Clemson Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney praised Deshaun Watson's character after a string of civil lawsuits containing allegations of sexual assault and misconduct were filed against the former Tigers quarterback.

Swinney told TMZ Sports he is "disappointed to see his name in the news" but offered kind words to the Houston Texans quarterback:

"Look, I love Deshaun Watson. He's like a son to me. That's how I love him. As far as the legal stuff and all that, that will take its course. Certainly can't speculate or comment on any of that stuff, but all I can tell you is I've known Deshaun since the 9th grade and he's been nothing but exemplary in every area that I've ever known him in."

Attorney Tony Buzbee has filed 14 lawsuits against Watson, including one from a woman who said he sexually assaulted her earlier this month, per Sarah Barshop of ESPN. Buzbee said Monday that 24 women have come forward with accusations.

Before Watson took the NFL by storm, earning three Pro Bowl selections in his first four seasons, the quarterback played three years for Swinney at Clemson.

The pairing combined to help the Tigers win the national championship after the 2016 season while Watson finished second in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

As Swinney told TMZ, he was a reliable player whose only mistake during his college career was being late to a single team meeting.

"I can only base my thoughts on my experiences with him, which have been wonderful."

Watson has denied accusations from the first lawsuit filed by Buzbee, but he has not responded directly to further allegations.