Tony Buzbee Responds to Deshaun Watson's Lawyer Rusty Hardin in Facebook Post

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson warms up before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who's filed 16 civil lawsuits on behalf of women against the Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson, responded to a statement from the quarterback's lawyer that called any allegations Watson forced women into sexual acts "completely false."

Buzbee wrote a Facebook post Tuesday night saying, "attempting to criminalize or minimize those that speak out or step forward is wrong:"

"Alleged sexual misconduct is serious. Attempting to criminalize or minimize those that speak out or step forward is wrong. I have been asked to respond to a released statement by Mr. Watson's counsel.

"My first reaction is that there have been so many massage sessions from Instagram that Mr. Watson can't keep track of them—recall he, on Twitter, initially criticized me and denied everything. I can't tell you how many people have stepped forward to report similar conduct or provide information. That info will be released, again in public filings—not in the media. My second reaction is a question: why would his marketing agent admit Watson had sex for pay with a massage therapist, consensual or otherwise?

"We will also provide a copy of the non-disclosure agreement that Deshaun Watson and his marketing manager repeatedly insisted that Jane Doe (and others) sign after (and sometimes before) the 'massage session,' which she refused to sign. I do appreciate Mr. Hardin's professionalism and his words of support for victims, but would respectfully suggest there are many facts here, that we will put in public filings, that Mr. Hardin might not be aware of. We will provide additional details in a statement, consistent with our ethical obligations in due course. I'm hoping we can do so by Friday."

Here is more of the statement from lawyer Rusty Hardin that prompted the response from Buzbee:

"I want to emphasize at the outset that we and Deshaun recognize that sexual assault and harassment are not only unlawful, but morally wrong. It takes courage for women to come forward to report being mistreated, particularly when they attach their names to a lawsuit. We do not take these allegations lightly. However, fairness to the accused is equally as important.

"Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 'Jane Doe' lawsuits during the past seven days in a manner calculated to inflame the public and malign Deshaun’s otherwise sterling reputation. In addition, the tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so we can fully investigate their claims makes uncovering the truth extremely difficult. Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims but opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun before the truth seeking process can even begin."

Watson wrote in a Twitter post last week following the filing of the first lawsuit that he's planning on "clearing my name" after being approached with a "baseless six-figure settlement demand":

Deshaun Watson @deshaunwatson


The NFL has confirmed it is investigating the allegations against Watson, and the Texans said in a statement the league informed them of that decision:

"The NFL informed us today that they will conduct an investigation into the allegations made in the civil lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson. We will stay in close contact with the league as they do.

"We continue to take this and all matters involving anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We do not anticipate making any additional statements until the NFL's investigation concludes."

Watson has spent the first four years of his pro career with the Texans after being selected in the first round of the 2017 draft out of Clemson. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the quarterback filed a trade request in January.