Deshaun Watson is finally addressing his new sexual harassment lawsuits and potential NFL suspension.
When Deshaun Watson signed his five-year $230 million deal, it was framed that numerous sexual harassment allegations were behind him and he was moving on from the situation. Weeks later, it now appears that is far from reality and his accusers are growing every day.
According to CBS Sports, the list of accusers has hit 24 women and reportedly could be 26 within days. For the first time in months, Watson is finally addressing his new accusers alongside his legal time and still proclaiming his innocence and his mission to clear his name.
“I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful,” said Watson. “I never forced anyone, I never assaulted anyone. I’ve been saying it from the beginning, and I’m gonna continue to do that until all the facts come out.”
“My biggest thing is just wanting to clear my name,” he said. “I never assaulted, disrespected or harassed anyone. But at the same time, I do understand that I do have regrets as far as the impact it’s had on the community, and people outside of just myself, and that includes my family, that includes this organization, that includes my teammates in this locker room that have to answer to these questions, that includes the fan base of the Cleveland Browns, that includes males, females, everyone across the world. That’s one thing I do regret, the impact that it’s triggered on so many people, and it’s tough to have to deal with.”
Twenty-four women have sued Deshaun for his actions, calling him a “serial sexual predator.” A recent New York Times report revealed Watson visited at least 66 women over a year and a half period for private message therapy sessions.
While still denying any wrongdoing, his lawyer Rusty Hardin claimed that some of the activity that happened was consensual. Hardin previously claimed that his client did not engage in anything unlawful and added that “happy endings” in general aren’t illegal, as if that helps their case.
Deshaun Watson could still face NFL punishment and suspension despite a grand jury verdict in his favor
Even with Deshaun only facing civil lawsuits, the NFL still has to complete its investigation and announce how it will handle its findings. Reportedly, a suspension could be on the table but the bigger question is for how long and how could it impact the Browns and Texans as a sports franchise.
During his press conference, Waston stated he answered all the NFL’s questions “truthfully” and understands they have to do “what’s best for the league.” Deshaun also said “you have to respect” whatever decision they make determining if he will be on the field this season. With 20 plus victims and more coming forward, this is far from over and a 2022 QB start may not be in his future.