Deshaun Watson has reached confidential settlements in 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits accusing the Browns quarterback of sexual misconduct, sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior, which mostly occurred during massage sessions in 2020 and in early 2021. The attorney representing the 24 accusers, Tony Buzbee, announced the settlements on Tuesday, according to Brent Schrotenboer at USA Today.
Buzbee said in a prepared statement:
“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
However, the NFL is still investigating whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy violations. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that:
“Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”
When contacted, Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin declined to comment on Tuesday’s development.
Ashley Solis, the first woman to file a lawsuit, has been identified as one of the four women who declined to settle. Through Buzbee, she stated that she was looking forward to going to court and seeing the lawsuit to its end.
Buzbee stated regarding Solis:
“The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call, from one brave and strong woman. That woman was Ashley Solis. I’m glad she persisted. Once we took a second look, and after having contact with Watson’s original lawyer who disrespected Ashley and her profession and who arrogantly minimized the conduct of someone he referred to as an ‘asset,’ I was convinced that our law firm should try to help her. As a result of Ashley’s lone but brave voice, soon many women who had allegedly experienced the same conduct were emboldened to step forward.”
Earlier, it was reported that the Miami Dolphins had a trade agreement worked out with Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans. In those negotiations, the owner of the Dolphins, Stephen Ross, had insisted that each of the pending lawsuits would be solved and settled. Watson’s camp offered each plaintiff $100,000 with a stipulation that a nondisclosure agreement would be implemented so that each alleged victim could not discuss the settlement in the media or in public. Four of the original 22 women reportedly did not accept the settlement offer, and the Dolphins closed their trade talks.
Watson said in a news conference last week that the one thing he regrets is the “impact that it’s triggered on so many people. It’s tough to have to deal with.”