This is super ugly.
A licensed massage therapist has accused Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault.
Prominent lawyer Tony Buzbee, a former Houston mayoral candidate, filed the lawsuit late Tuesday. He first shared brief information in a post on Instagram, saying the litigation was “about dignity and stopping behavior that should be stopped.”
The massage therapist, identified as Jane Doe, said she had never met Watson before or dealt with any members of the Texans organization. She received a direct message from the Pro Bowl quarterback on Instagram on March 28, 2020, she said.
Watson responded to the claims, in which the masseuse alleges Watson touched her inappropriately during a massage session at her home in March 2020.
“As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me,” Watson said in his response. “I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect. The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this isn’t about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected.”
The statement went on to say that “this isn’t about money for me — it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”
Prominent Houston defense attorney Rusty Hardin is representing Watson in the lawsuit, he confirmed. Hardin, who has represented other athletes such as Roger Clemens, was not available for comment Wednesday.
The Texans on Wednesday morning issued a separate statement addressing the allegations.
“We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night,” the statement reads. “This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon. We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident.”
An NFL spokesman said “We are aware of the suit, but will decline further comment at this time.”
I skipped the details, in which the massage therapist alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Watson. You can read it in the story and in the lawsuit, which is embedded in the story. Watson’s statement is here. There are some claims about Instagram DMs and text messages that should be objectively verifiable. Beyond that, we’ll have to see what happens. Sean Pendergast has more.
UPDATE: Now there are two accusers. This is getting worse.