What to Know About the Lawsuits Against Deshaun Watson

Buzbee, in a statement released on April 13, denied that argument.

“Mr. Watson may now claim he had consent to do what he did to these victims, but let’s be clear — in their minds he didn’t have consent, PERIOD,” the statement said.

Most of the incidents are said to have taken place in Texas, but according to the complaints, two are said to have occurred in Georgia, where Watson is from, and in California and Arizona, during his visits there. All of the lawsuits were filed in Harris County, Texas, because that is where Watson lives and works.

The Houston Police Department said on April 2 that it had begun an investigation after a complainant filed a report against Watson. The announcement of the investigation on Twitter did not specify the nature of the report, and it was not clear whether the complainant was one of the women who had filed civil lawsuits. Until the Police Department’s announcement, there had been no indication of a police report filed against Watson.

The league opened an investigation into Watson’s conduct on March 18. In a letter addressed to Buzbee, Lisa Friel, a special counsel for investigations at the league, requested the cooperation of the accusers. A league spokesman said the matter was under review in relation to the N.F.L.’s personal conduct policy. That policy governs off-field behavior involving players and coaches. In a statement on April 2, after the Houston Police Department announced its investigation, the league said it was “continuing to monitor all developments in the matter which remains under review of the Personal Conduct Policy.”

The Texans said in a March 18 statement that they would “continue to take this and all matters involving anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously” and that the team would not comment further until the league’s investigation had ended, a process with no public timeline. In his first public comment on the matter, Texans chief executive Cal McNair wrote in an April email to season ticket-holders that the organization took the allegations “very seriously” and would cooperate fully with the Houston Police and N.F.L. investigations.

“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our strong stance against any form of sexual assault,” McNair said.

Nike suspended its contract with Watson on April 7, the day after two of the accusers gave public statements describing their allegations.

“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” the company said in a statement.

Watson’s deal with Apple’s Beats By Dre reportedly will not be renewed. Many of his other sponsorships, which included Rolex and several Texas-area businesses, were allowed to expire.

Tony Buzbee is a Houston plaintiffs lawyer who has worked on personal injury cases for years but is perhaps best known for his involvement in mass tort and class-action cases, including the litigation after Hurricane Ike and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a decade ago. He doesn’t appear to have represented many women in cases involving sexual assault.

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