CLEVELAND — When Deshaun Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct last week, many believed that it marked the beginning of the end of the legal matters surrounding the Cleveland Browns quarterback.
As it turns out, that may not be the case.
On Monday, the attorney representing Watson's accusers, Tony Buzbee, announced that one of the four women who didn't settle with the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has filed a new lawsuit against his former team, the Houston Texans. According to Buzbee, the new lawsuit alleges that the Texans enabled Watson's behavior and is "the first case of what will likely be many" that the Houston-based lawyer said he anticipates filing against the franchise.
“Today we filed the first case of what will likely be many against the Houston Texans related to Deshaun Watson’s behavior," Buzbee said. "Suffice it to say, the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson’s behavior is incredibly damning. We believe the Texans knew or most certainly should have known of Watson’s conduct. Beyond that, we believe the filing speaks for itself.”
In a statement released after the lawsuit was filed, the Texans said: “We are aware of the lawsuit filed against us today. Since March 2021, we have fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations. We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization.”
The lawsuit comes three weeks after a report by The New York Times revealed new details regarding the allegations against Watson, who had been accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in the Houston area. According to the report, the Texans provided Watson -- who they drafted in 2017 -- with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for his massage sessions, as well as a room at The Houstonian hotel and club, where some of the sessions took place.
In March, the Browns acquired Watson in a blockbuster trade, sending Houston a package of draft picks including three first-round selections. While two Texas grand juries have declined to indict the Clemson product, he faces potential punishment from the NFL, which has been conducting its own investigation into the allegations, with his disciplinary hearing set to begin on Tuesday.