BEREA, OH - JUNE 01: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field as general manager Andrew Berry follows after the Cleveland Browns offseason workout at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on June 1, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
NFL

Deshaun Watson Settles 20 Of 24 Civil Lawsuits In Sexual Harassment Case

Newly installed Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has agreed to settle out of court with 20 of the 24 women that accused him of sexual harassment and assault.

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 24 claimants in the case announced on Tuesday this week that:

“All cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements,” stated Buzbee.

“Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed.”

Buzbee confirmed that the terms of the settlement would remain private and confidential and that he not his legal team involved in the cases will not make any additional comments or remarks regarding the terms of the settlement.

Four claimants, including the very first allegation filed by Ashley Solis, will instead take their suits to trial, with Buzbee representing the quartet.

Disciplinary Action Pending From NFL?

While yesterday is likely to have been an expensive day for Watson, the fact that he signed a $230 million guaranteed contract with the Browns earlier this year means that he is likely to be able to cover the cost.

And while two-thirds of the suits may have been settled, Watson still faces a lengthy and

BEREA, OHIO – MARCH 25: Quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns listens to questions during a press conference at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on March 25, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

potentially expensive battle in court to try clear himself of the other charges.

Also on the horizon could well be disciplinary action from the NFL, which is currently conducting its own investigation into the issue and which, as yet, has not announced any form of punishment or suspension for the former Texans QB.

In his first public comments regarding the cases, Watson stated on the 14th June:

“I never assaulted anyone…I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”

However, the quarterback refused to answer questions about whether he would settle with any of the 24 women that had brought the collective suit against him.

New York Times Piece

The settlement comes quickly on the heels of a New York Times piece on the issue which reported that Watson had booked a series of massage appointments with a minimum of 66 different women over the course of a 17-month period while a Houston Texans player.

In that report, it is claimed that the Texans provided Watson with a hotel room in which to be massaged, as well as giving him a nondisclosure agreement, which Watson is believed to have asked and succeeded in getting a number of masseurs to sign.

Initially, there were concerns that Watson could face criminal charges, and jail time, if found guilty of his actions.

However, back in March, a grand jury in Texas refused to indict Watson on criminal charges from the allegations, after which Watson signed his new deal with the Browns.

Neither the Cleveland Browns, the quarterback or his legal team have made any comment on the settlement at the time of writing.

Buzbee Praises Solis For Taking Stance

Buzbee heaped praise on Ashley Solis, claiming that without her taking the initial stance “the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered.”

“The truth is without here courage and willingness to come forward, the NFL wouldn’t currently be contemplating discipline; there would be no examination of how teams might knowingly or unknowingly enable certain behavior.”

While the news is seemingly positive for Watson in one sense, the fact that he has settled with 20 of the 24 claimants will not have any impact on the results of the NFL investigation.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesperson stated that the settlement of the 20 cases has “no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”

And the L.A. Times reported that another anonymous league official stated that “settling doesn’t give someone a pass,” and that the quarterback could still face a hefty suspension from the game.

Watson has already spoken at length with the NFL over the allegations.

It has been an unseemly situation for all those involved in the NFL and Browns fans and Watson himself will be hoping for a swift and positive resolution.

However, plenty of victims of sexual harassment and assault will also be hoping for a quick resolution and to see that justice, whatever the court decides that is, is done.

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