A woman has filed a lawsuit against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to ESPN, bringing the total of active civil lawsuits against the embattled QB to 23. The woman changed her mind about filing a lawsuit after watching two of Watson’s alleged victims speak out on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” last week.
Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct during massages. The woman who filed the most recent lawsuit claims she had her first massage session with Watson in 2020, and that his “behavior grew worse,” per ESPN. The lawsuit claims Watson exposed himself, touched the woman between her legs and “repeatedly requested” she have sex with him. Watson was not indicted by two separate grand juries on criminal charges, but civil suits are still pending. The three-time Pro Bowler has maintained his innocence.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, released a statement shortly after the suit went public, via NFL Media, part of which can be read below:
“Deshaun Watson vehemently denies the allegations, just as he has since she first discussed them with members of our firm in March of last year. She repeated the allegations on social media in August and he denied them then. The only thing new about her contentions is the embellishment making them more extreme than prior versions. Deshaun’s denial remains the same.
The NFL launched its own investigation into Watson, and commissioner Roger Goodell said it’s close to being wrapped up. Many expect the quarterback to be suspended for a certain amount of games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“I can’t give you a timeline (for a possible suspension),”http://www.cbssports.com/” Goodell said, via Cleveland.com. “We are nearing the end of the investigative period and then it will be handled by our disciplinary officer.”
Watson hasn’t played in an NFL game since Jan. 3, 2021. He requested a trade from the Houston Texans following the 2020 season, and his legal troubles followed a couple months later. In March, Watson finally got his trade — and a fully-guaranteed $230 million contract from the Browns.