Alarge number of troubling lawsuits have been filed against Deshuan Watson, the embattled NFL quarterback for the Houston Texans.
As of Tuesday, a total of 16 lawsuits have been filed, accusing Watson of sexual misconduct spanning back to March 2020. The latest incident reportedly occurred earlier this month.
The accusers are represented by Houston-based lawyer Tony Buzbee, who says he will submit his findings to the Harris County District Attorney in hopes that a grand jury will be empaneled. On Monday Buzbee said he had spoken to at least 24 women.
Watson has denied the allegations, but they speak to a growing concern regarding consent, and the ways people in high-profile positions routinely go without consequences.
The incidents reportedly took place at Watson’s home, different locations in Houston, and a message therapy business in Georgia. Several of Watson’s accusers, who remain unnamed, claim they were contacted by the NFL player for massage appointments and quickly became mortified by Watson’s behavior after he refused to cover his genitals. In multiple instances accusers say Watson touched them with his penis. In once case, a woman claims he forced her to perform oral sex.
Watson has not yet faced disciplinary action by the NFL over the accusations, and even as of Sunday, six teams were interested in trading to have Watson on their team, even though seven active lawsuits were filed against him at the time.
Lisa Friel, special counsel for the NFL, has launched an investigation into Watson under the league’s personal conduct policy. But according to The Athletic, the investigation could take months or longer.
With each passing day the calls for the NFL to take disciplinary action grow larger, as the league has been slow to respond to serious accusations such as domestic violence and sexual misconduct before. A 2019 sexual assault claim against Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Antonio Brown remains open. Chad Wheeler, who was arrested in Jan. for savagely beating his ex-girlfriend, was recently booted from the Seattle Seahawks, but could potentially be picked up by another team next season.
Prior to the announcement of the last two cases against Watson, his attorney Rusty Hardin issued a statement calling the accusations “false,” and claimed the woman who accused Watson of rape attempted to blackmail him for $30,000.