The Deshaun Watson saga of messiness is nearing a legal end for many of his accusers. On Tuesday, his attorney announced that Watson had settled all but four of his civil cases.
The confidential settlements end the litigation against him by the women accusing him of sexual misconduct during massages. The agreements come almost 15 months after the 2021 filing by many of his accusers.
“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled,” the plaintiff’s attorney Tony Buzbee said in a statement.
“We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
Plaintiffs attorney announces 20 of 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by Browns QB Deshaun Watson have been settled. pic.twitter.com/a3k6DM0gkL
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2022
The news signals a start to the cessation of the troubling headlines Watson has encountered for months. Although his transition from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns should be the focus, the conversation has heavily involved the status of his allegations.
Watson did things conveniently in front of the media, within reason, to nullify the impact of the accusations. Watson gifted Browns’ linebacker Anthony Walker a new Rolex and more in exchange for jersey number 4, which is Watson’s preferred number. He did it under the watchful eyes of the rolling cameras as Walker was interviewing immediately after a Browns OTA practice.
Appreciate you,” Watson said as he handed Walker the boxed Rolex.
“Appreciate that!,” Walker said as he gave Watson a quick hug and returned to the watchful media.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 21, 2022
Watson has had his character poked and prodded due to the multiple allegations against him. Even though the 26-year-old’s case has been presented to two grand juries that neglected to indict him, there still hovers a negative cloud despite never being arrested or charged.
However, Ashley Solis, the first plaintiff to sue Watson, did not settle. She recently participated in a May 2022 edition of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” with another accuser, Kyla Hayes, which emboldened the 23rd accuser to step out from the shadows.
The Collective Attorney
“The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call from one brave and strong woman,” Buzbee said to USA Today. “That woman was Ashley Solis. At the time of that call, she was just one of the hundreds of calls seeking legal assistance that our firm gets weekly. Even though she was originally turned away by our screening process, my staff insisted that I personally speak with her. I’m glad she persisted.
“As a result of Ashley’s lone but brave voice, soon many women who had allegedly experienced the same conduct were emboldened to step forward. I am incredibly proud to represent them all. They have endured vile criticism and fanatical ignorance. They faced withering cross examination by skilled litigators and stood firm. They are warriors all. Today we have an important announcement about these cases, but it is important to point out that, without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered.”
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 17, 2022
The Marathon Continues
Watson is not out of the proverbial woods yet. Buzbee revealed that Solis and others are looking forward to trying their case in pursuit of what they believe is justice.
“The truth is, without her courage and willingness to come forward, the NFL wouldn’t currently be contemplating discipline; there would be no examination of how teams might knowingly or unknowingly enable certain behavior; sports teams wouldn’t be reviewing their personnel screening processes; and this important story wouldn’t have dominated the sports headlines for more than a year,” Buzbee added.
What isn’t clear yet is what the NFL will do to discipline Watson for the accusations.