Sean Pendergast

Rusty Hardin Refutes Claim That Watson Wants to Settle With Accusers

Deshaun Watson is reportedly getting itchy to settle with his accusers.
Deshaun Watson is reportedly getting itchy to settle with his accusers. Photo by Eric Sauseda
With reports late last week that attorney Tony Buzbee filed four more massage-related, sexual misconduct civil lawsuits against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, three of those four were made public late Monday morning. All three are embedded below in this post. In large apart, they contain repetitive allegations that, at this point, blend together with the other sixteen lawsuits, that if true, just compounds a beyond disturbing pattern of behavior for the face of the Texans' franchise (for now).

The most noteworthy item to arise from these three lawsuits — lawsuits number 17, 18, and 19 against Watson, as numbered on the county court website — is that, according to the 19th lawsuit, Watson has begun an attempt at a digital purge on Instagram, and has reached out to service providers to attempt to settle out of court. Here is the each quote:

“As a result of the repeated lawsuits against him, Watson is deleting Instagram messages, and contacting those who formally provided him massages, in an attempt to settle.”
This would have been the first indication that Watson may want to settle  his legal issues in any way, shape or form. as his tone was much different in his initial denial of any wrongdoing after the first lawsuit became public a couple weeks ago. At that time, Watson called the attempt at a six-figure settlement "baseless" and defended his behavior around women, in any setting.

For their part, Hardin, on behalf of Watson, vehemently denies the allegations of rampant message deletion and a desire to settle these lawsuits in a statement issued on Monday afternoon:

"Like a lot of people, Deshaun regularly deletes past Instagram messages. That said, he has not deleted any messages since March 15th, the day before the first lawsuit was filed. We categorically deny that he has reached out directly to his accusers in an attempt to settle these cases.

Opposing counsel’s continued statements that these cases aren’t about money do not square with the facts in at least two of these cases. It is incredibly irresponsible to continue to make these types of false allegations in this avalanche of anonymous lawsuits, particularly while we are still trying to find out who the accusers are. We will address these issues, and others raised in these cases, in our formal response to the court in the coming weeks."

The full 19th lawsuit follows below:
The other noteworthy item from the three lawsuits filed Friday and posted on Monday is that the 17th plaintiff claims that, after a second massage session with Watson on November 10, 2020, (the first was four days earlier) she called an NFL player who is a friend of hers to share her bizarre and disturbing experience in providing Watson a massage, an experience that alleges behavior from Watson that goes way beyond the normal massage recipient.

Here is the plaintiff recounting her making this call to one of Watson's NFL peers:

"Plaintiff reached out to one of her friends who played for the NFL and told him the complete story. The NFL player told her that there is a thin line between physical therapy and sexual pleasure. The NFL player said Watson crossed that line over into sexual pleasure."
Legal expert Amy Dash of CBS Sports outlines below why this could be problematic for Watson:

Here is the full 17th lawsuit:

And to round out the trilogy released on Monday, here is the 18th lawsuit filed against Deshaun Watson:

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast