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The Houston Texans have reached an agreement with 30 women who were prepared to make claims against the NFL for its alleged role in allegations of inappropriate sexual misconduct against Cleveland Brown quarterback Deshaun Watson in massage sessions, said women’s attorney Tony Buzbee. a statement Friday.
One of the 30 women had already filed a civil lawsuit against the Texans in June, accusing the team of “activating Watson’s behavior.” Buzbee said the case will also be settled. He did not disclose the terms of the 30 settlements.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first heard about the allegations against our then-franchise quarterback in March 2021,” Texan owners Janice McNair, Hannah and Cal McNair said in a statement Friday. “Although our organization had no knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have deliberately chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of any misconduct, but instead a clear stance against any form of sexual assault and misconduct.
“We hope today’s decision will provide a kind of closure to the parties involved, our fans and the Houston community as a whole. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and do what we can to ensure respect for all. “
In June, Watson settled 20 out of 24 lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct while playing for the Texans. He has been accused by 25 women in civil lawsuits of acts ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. One of those lawsuits was dropped after the judge ruled that the petition should be changed with the name of the plaintiff.
Buzbee did not reveal the identities of the other six women who were prepared to file claims against the Texans.
“I will not comment further on the allegations or the alleged role of the Texans, other than to say that there is a marked contrast in the way the Texans addressed these allegations and the way the Watson team has done so,” Buzbee said. in his statement Friday.
Two major juries in Texas earlier this year refused to prosecute criminal charges against Watson. Watson has maintained his innocence. The Texans traded Watson to the Browns in March after the first grand jury announced it would not charge him.
NFL Disciplinary Officer Sue L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, is currently considering whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Watson had a three-day hearing before Robinson in late June, and sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that the league has argued for a suspension of at least a year.
If Robinson issues a suspension, Watson will have the opportunity to appeal the penalty to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell under the league’s collective agreement from 2020.
The New York Times reported in June that Watson ordered appointments with at least 66 different women over 17 months from fall 2019 to spring 2021.
The list of 66 includes the 24 women who have sued Watson; a woman who sued Watson but then filed the complaint; two women who filed criminal charges against Watson but did not sue him; at least 15 therapists who issued statements of support to Watson at the request of his attorneys; at least four therapists had contracts with the Texans; five women identified by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during the investigation of their lawsuits; and at least 15 other women whose appointments with Watson were confirmed through interviews and records reviewed by the Times.
The Times also reported that the confidentiality agreement that Watson gave some of the women to sign came from the Texans’ security director, Brent Naccara. The Times reports that the NDA was in Watson’s closet at NRG Stadium days after a woman posted Watson’s phone number on Instagram.