Browns QB Deshaun Watson settles 20 of 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits


Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached an agreement to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment, a lawyer for the women said Tuesday.

« Today I am announcing that all cases against Deshaun Watson, except for four, are settled. We are working on paperwork related to those settlements, » said Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 24 women, in a press release. « Once we do, these individual cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We will not comment further on the settlements or these cases. »

Watson was accused by massage therapists of harassing, assaulting or touching them on dates while playing for the Houston Texans.

The first 22 lawsuits were filed in March and April 2021, with the last two being filed since HBO’s « Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel » aired an interview last month with two of the women who detailed their encounters with Watson.

Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead attorney, did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Last week, Watson said he intended to clear his name and avoided questions about whether he would settle down with any of the women.

« I’ve never assaulted anyone, » Watson said in his first public comments since being introduced by the Browns in March. « I never harassed anyone or disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. »

Juries refuse to indict Watson

In March, two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations. But Watson could still be suspended if the NFL determines he violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the settlements had « no impact on the collectively negotiated disciplinary process. »

Cleveland signed Watson to a fully guaranteed, five-year, US$230 million contract in March, convincing the three-time Pro Bowler to waive his no-trade clause and join a team with a strong roster.

Buzbee said he plans to take the four lawsuits to court that have not been settled.

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