It’s been months since the Houston Texans agreed to trade embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, but the furor over the deal — described by one NFL observer as a case of “talent trumps trouble” — just won’t go away.
In March, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, declined to charge Watson over allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct after determining there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime. The incidents were described as “stemming from massage therapy sessions,” according to a statement on the NFL website.
Meanwhile, a second grand jury in Brazoria County, Texas, in March declined to indict Watson after considering evidence in a criminal complaint alleging sexual misconduct, also during a massage therapy session.
However, Watson still faces 22 civil complaints from his accusers, many of them alleging sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions. Two of Watson’s accusers appeared on HBO’s Real Sports on Tuesday, providing graphic details of what they say happened in the sessions — and speaking of their shock and revulsion at the news of his signing.
“It’s just like a big screw you,” Ashley Solis said on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what we care about.”
Watson has repeatedly denied the accusations of sexual assault and misconduct made against him, and Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin said in a statement “I believe that any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.”
NFL officials were scheduled to meet with Watson last week, as the fallout from his trade continues, according, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. A decision on his potential suspension is looming, but timelines for this remain unclear.
Hardin told CNN that Watson met with the NFL for three days. The league has also requested one more day, though the date and location have not yet been determined, added Hardin.
“I can’t give you a timeline,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in a press conference Tuesday. “I think we’re nearing the end of the investigative period and then at some point this will be handled by our disciplinary officer. And that will happen shortly. And then we’ll see where that comes out.”