HOUSTON – Despite recently settling civil lawsuits for 20 out of 24 women who filed against NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, attorney Tony Buzbee filed a lawsuit Monday against the Houston Texans for allegedly “enabling” Watson’s reported inappropriate behavior during massage therapy sessions.
Buzbee, who is representing at least two dozen women who claim Watson behaved badly during scheduled appointments, sent KPRC 2 a statement, which read: “Today we filed the first case of what will likely be many against the Houston Texans related to Deshaun Watson’s behavior. Suffice it to say, the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson’s behavior is incredibly damning. We believe the Texans knew or most certainly should have known of Watson’s conduct. Beyond that, we believe the filing speaks for itself.”
In many of the complaints on record, women claim that Watson would masturbate in front of them, rarely offering any apologies for his alleged conduct. They said he would bring his own small towel, that would not fully cover his nude body, and would sometimes brush his naked body parts against the masseuses.
In the lawsuit, Buzbee referred to Watson’s alleged behavior as “predatory.”
The lawsuit states that, “despite being actually aware of what can only be described as troubling behavior, the Houston Texans turned a blind eye. Worse, the Houston Texans organization enabled Watson’s egregious behavior.”
The lawsuit further claims that the Texans shielded Watson - for his own protection and the protection of the organization itself.
According to the lawsuit, representatives from Genuine Touch, the company hired by the Texans to provide massages to the team, also reported what they called Watson’s “sketchiness” and “attempts to push boundaries.”
A Genuine Touch team member allegedly told the Texans she was aware of Watson’s “towel trick” and refusal to use the industry’s required draping, and multiple individuals were aware of at least one incident in which Watson reportedly “humped the table” during a session. The representative said they expressed concerns about Watson using “strangers” found on Instagram because it possibly could put the team at risk of being exposed to COVID, or even open Watson up to the possibility of being sued, the document details.
Buzbee said, instead of putting an end to Watson’s actions, the Texans of provided Watson with resources to conduct his therapy sessions, including “rooms set up for him at the Houstonian Hotel, massage tables provided to him for private massage sessions, and an NDA provided to him from the head of Texans’ security.”
NFL.com posted a statement on its website they said was released by the Texans organization in response.
“We are aware of the lawsuit filed against us today. Since March 2021, we have fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations. We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization,” the statement read.
The three-time Pro Bowl QB is no longer with the Texans, joining the Cleveland Browns after inking a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.
In addition to the legal woes, Watson is also facing a possible suspension from the NFL, which is independently investigating his behavior to see if he violated the league’s personal conduct policies.
From the very beginning, Watson and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, have maintained his innocence and were adamant that they would not make any settlement agreements. They said their only goal was to clear his name.
Hardin admitted that Watson did have sexual intercourse with a few of the therapists, but vehemently denied that anyone was made to do anything against their will.
Hardin came under scrutiny for his choice of wording about the claims, saying during an interview with Houston’s SportsRadio 610 that there was nothing criminal in receiving “a happy ending.” His team quickly sent out a statement, clearing up what was meant.
Commenting on the rising amounts of lawsuits, KPRC2 legal analyst Brian Wice previously said Watson faced a tough outlook.
“With each additional lawsuit, this litigation continues to reach DEFCON 1,” Wice said. “Deshaun Watson is caught in a West Texas hailstorm. He can’t run. He can’t hide and he can’t make it stop.”
Overall, the lawsuit states that Watson sought out at least 66 different massage therapists in a short span, mostly on Instagram, and that many of the women who interacted with him left feeling “humiliated, devalued and disgusted.”
The document states that, after dealing with Watson, many of the women “quit massage therapy for good.”