To say this hasn’t been a banner year for the NFL is a classic understatement. Make no mistake: it’s operating under a dark cloud. Twelve of its members were arrested on charges related to violence. Eleven others have been detained. With its ridiculous hiring requirements, the league continues to embarrass itself. Deshaun Watson’s scandal is still a problem.
Watson is facing civil suits from 22 women alleging sexual misconduct. The entire 2021 season was without Watson. The talented quarterback was not indicted by two grand juries. He was traded to Cleveland recently and awarded a five-year, $230 million contract. Cleveland citizens protested his arrival there.
Pre-civil trial discovery is a matter of contention for attorneys. The NFL will monitor this mess to ensure that it doesn’t become a PR disaster. This because the NFL focuses more on hiring for women and minorities. If it’s found Watson violated the league’ personal conduct policy, he can be suspended.
USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer has made public many new details on Watson’s alleged pattern of luring in women for ulterior motives. Watson allegedly used The Houstonian hotel for a lot of his sexual exploitations through massages.
Watson owned an account with The Houstonian. Two women claim that he touched their genitals in massage sessions and exposed his body to them during 2020. The hotel offered professional luxury massage spa services at the Solaya Spa & Salon by The Houstonian. He invited his female guests to stay in the suite.
Watson wanted an unlicensed psychotherapist to come and visit him at The Houstonian’s July 2020 suite. Her lawsuit says his behavior grew “progressively worse”, and he touched with his genitals and ejaculated in front of her.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey said in a hearing there was a pattern and a motive to Watson’s behavior. Which was to get sex — not just a massage, “even if that desire wasn’t mutual.”
Two attorneys not affiliated with the ongoing trials, say it’s a mighty bad look for Watson.
Los Angeles attorney David Ring, who has represented sexual assault victims, called the quarterback’s behavior “highly suspicious conduct,” and said Watson doesn’t have a lot of legal moves to make:
This evidence could be used to show that Watson’s plan was to lure a masseuse to the hotel under the guise of a massage, when his real intention was to engage in sexual activities.
Kenneth Williams, professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, remarked, “The fact that he went to such lengths to obtain massages tends to bolster the credibility of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs probably want the jury to think that a star NFL quarterback wouldn’t have to go to such lengths to obtain a massage unless the massages were a pretext for something else.”
The plaintiffs alleged that Watson used his home in California and Arizona to commit sexual misconduct. He also flew a woman from Atlanta to Houston for one of his “massages.”
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the women are lying, they’re out for money and his clients had some sexual encounters that were consensual.
The case will go to trial in May, unless settlements are reached.
Despite all the NFL’s bad public relations, the league will hold its annual draft Thursday through Saturday under the façade that everything is wonderful and it’s a great organization.