Houston Texans ‘enabled’ Deshaun Watson’s behavior: report
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was hit with a 24th lawsuit this week accusing him of sexual misconduct but according to a bombshell report from the New York Times on Tuesday, the Houston Texans played a role in enabling the quarterback’s alleged behavior, including providing him with nondisclosure agreements and a venue for his massage habit.
The report claimed that the Texans, “knowingly or not,” enabled Watson’s actions by providing him with the venue for several of his massage appointments where incidents of sexual misconduct were said to have taken place.
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after the Cleveland Browns OTAs at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on May 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.
(Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
In addition, documents reviewed by the outlet showed that Watson found an NDA in his locker after one of his accusers threatened to go public with her accusations in 2020.
The Texans denied any previous knowledge of the accusations at the time that the first civil lawsuit was filed back in March 2021. In a statement to the Times, the Texans reaffirmed that they first learned of the allegations in March and have been cooperating with investigators since but declined to go into details over his use of “team resources.”
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According to the report, the Houston Texans provided Watson with a membership at an “upscale” hotel where at least seven women met him for appointments – two of them filed civil lawsuits and two others went to law enforcement with complaints.
“It’s unclear whether the Texans knew how many massages Watson was getting or who was providing them. But their resources helped support his massage habit away from the team,” the report read. “Watson acknowledged in a deposition that the Texans arranged for him to have ‘a place’ at The Houstonian. He used the fitness club, dined there, and also set up massages in hotel rooms.”
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans reacts to a penalty in the second quarter during their game against the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on November 22, 2020, in Houston, Texas.
(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Records from Watson’s deposition also revealed that the organization had provided him with NDAs after one woman had threatened to “expose” him on social media in November 2020. According to the Times, Watson said he received an NDA from the “head of security for the Texans.”
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During his introductory press conference with the Browns back in May, Watson fielded several questions from reporters about his ongoing legal troubles and the number of accusations leveled against him. When asked specifically about the number of massages he’s had, Watson claimed that it was around 40 over the course of his career in Texas.
But according to the report, the Times found that Watson had booked at least 66 appointments within a 17-month time span.
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, left, new quarterback Deshaun Watson, center, and head coach Kevin Stefanski pose for a photo during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
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Twenty-four of those women have since filed civil lawsuits and while some say they did not experience incidents of sexual misconduct, several more revealed more patterns of misbehavior.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told the Times that the NFL player continues to deny all allegations.