Back when the whole DeShaun Watson situation first blew up over a year ago, I took a skeptical position on the whole matter. For one thing, I just couldn’t picture Watson as a sexual predator. He seemed like such a good and wholesome dude from his time at Clemson up through his first several years in the NFL.
Then there was the fact that all the allegations dropped shortly after he requested a trade out of Houston. It just seemed like strange timing. And then there was the fact that the attorney representing all of his accusers came off as an unscrupulous, untrustworthy character. He claimed he didn’t know the Texans owner, then it was shown he lived in the same neighborhood as them–possibly even on the same street, if I recall correctly. He claimed he didn’t care about the Texans or about pro football in general, and then it was found that he himself paid for a billboard back in 2014 that implored the Texans to draft Johnny Manziel. Leaving aside the fact that wanting a professional football team to draft Manziel shows poor judgement, it directly undercut his claims to not have any rooting or personal interest in the Houston Texans as a football team.
But still, there were 22 different allegations against Watson. And if you went through and read them–Redditor u/NA_DeltaWarDog had a great summary of all of them from early 2021–they were very detailed and specific. It felt like the accusations against Watson were legitimate just because of how bizarre, strange and specific they all were. It wasn’t just, “Watson made unwarranted sexual advances toward me.” It was all very detailed and graphic, and the 22 different allegations fit a specific pattern. I’m sure somebody out there with a very perverted and imaginative mind could fabricate all of that stuff out of thin air, but I doubt that’s what happened.
Nothing really happened for about a year, though, as it pertained to Watson and the allegations against him. Recently we saw the criminal courts decline to prosecute him, which was seen as a positive development for him–he hadn’t committed any criminal acts at all.
While he still faced civil lawsuits, there was optimism that his name would be cleared. Now, this doesn’t mean he did nothing wrong. Civil court covers matters that do not reach the level of criminal activity, but that still result in harm. While Watson hadn’t committed any bona fide crimes–or at least there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with any crimes, given that it was all “he said, she said” stuff–I think we could all agree that, based on the accounts of the accusers, that Watson had engaged in some highly inappropriate behavior and has some unusual sexual proclivities, to say the least.
It felt like the whole thing would result in him paying out an undisclosed settlement to the accusers, the matter being dropped, and then the NFL levying a 4-8 game suspension. It seemed like he was more or less in the clear after the criminal courts declined to press charges against him.
But then Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, went and said something incredibly stupid:
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s lawyer is doing him no favors in the eye of public perception, which could make it all worse. Rusty Hardin was on the SportsRadio 610 station out of Houston and said that essentially happy endings to a massage are not illegal.
“I don’t know how many men are out there now that have had a massage, that perhaps that occasionally there was a happy ending, Hardin said.
“I do want to point out that if it has happen, it’s not a crime. Unless you are paying somebody extra to give you some type of sexual activity it’s not a crime.”
Watson has 23 accusers at the time, soon to be 24. The Browns’ quarterback has been adamant there was no wrongdoing, but more and more signs are coming out saying there was more than a massage happening.
The problem here is that throughout this whole process, Watson has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. He insists that he did nothing wrong, and that the allegations against him were baseless.
But now his lawyer has just admitted, essentially, that yeah, Watson is into getting “happy ending” massages. Which means it’s probable that the allegations against him are, if not entirely true, at least partially rooted in fact.
It is now pretty much established that Watson has a thing for “happy endings.” And so Watson’s lawyer, through his boneheaded comments, basically validated the allegations against Watson–at least in terms of the court of public opinion. And that’s really what matters when it comes to the NFL and the looming suspension: the NFL cares about the reputation of the league, and even if you are found to have committed no crimes, the league will still punish you because you’ve brought negative attention and publicity to the league. It’s all about “protecting the shield,” after all.
Watson and his legal team went from, “He did nothing wrong” to “Hey, it’s not illegal to get a happy ending massage.
That may be true, but Watson also has 22 (now 24) different women accusing him of inappropriate behavior during so-called “massages.” It would be one thing if it was one or two women making these claims against him, but the number is over 20.
No, it’s not a crime to get a happy ending massage here and there, but from 20+ different women over a period of a year and a half? That’s a little different. That’s a pattern of behavior.
I’m sure there are guys out there who are addicted to getting happy ending massages, but even in those cases, I’m sure they don’t actively seek out 20+ different “masseuses” over a relatively short span to get those happy ending massages. I would imagine they have a spot in town they go to regularly to get what they want. Maybe 2-3 spots at the most. And I’m sure they’re not hitting up dozens of different women on social media and trying to set up phony “massages.”
And sure, I’ll grant that most guys aren’t DeShaun Watson, and that he’s a unique case in that he’s a rich and famous professional athlete.
But the fact that it is DeShaun Watson instead of a regular joe (or, I guess, john) makes it even worse in my view. Because why would Watson, as a young, rich and famous professional athlete, have to go this route to get his rocks off? I’m sure this is a guy who has women throwing themselves at him on the regular. So why would he have to go through the trouble of reaching out to these women on social media, pretending all he wants is a massage, and then trying to turn the massage into a sexual encounter? This is so weird.
Doesn’t he realize he’s rich and famous and that he could probably just have any woman he wants straight up? Why can’t he just slide into a chick’s DMs and say, “Come through.” Or pick up girls at the club or the bar? What I’m saying here is, this guy could have all the tail he wanted, easily. Why did he go through this route with the phony massages? It just seems like extremely poor judgement at the very least. My only guess is that he has some sort of fetish that involves massages turning sexual.
But even if this is the case, I’m sure there are women (aka prostitutes) out there who specialize in “that sort of thing.” The whole thing just doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, from Watson’s perspective. Why would he go to all this trouble?
The best guess I have is that his behavior was so off-putting in so many of these massages that many of the women wanted nothing to do with him ever again, and so he had to continually seek out new “masseuses”–or I guess “victims” would be a better way to put it, in all honesty.
This, presumably, is why he had to go through so many of them over such a short period of time: because his behavior and his sexual proclivities were so abnormal and off-putting that he scared most of the women away.
Maybe this, in combination with him wanting a new woman each time. I’m sure guys who are as rich and famous as Watson are feel like they can and should run through dozens, if not hundreds, of different women, and that they can have a different woman every night if they want to.
The whole thing is just so bizarre, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. I’m just tossing out guesses here to try to comprehend it.
Okay, if Rusty Hardin’s comments weren’t enough, a story just dropped the other day in the New York Times with even more details about Watson’s conduct, and it gets even worse:
“Watson met a minimum of 66 women for massages over the course of 17 months.”
So that’s about 4 a month, or one a week.
But furthermore: “the Texans gave him access to hotel rooms for massage appointments and provided him with nondisclosure agreements.”
You could argue that the Texans were just being accommodative for him and his massages, but the NDA part of it gives up the game: the Houston Texans were aware, on some level, of what was going on in these massages. Why else would you need women to sign an NDA over a massage?
This means the Texans are complicit in the matter.
Here’s another detail that will underscore things:
This is the “happy baby” pose:
This is some weird shit, man.
I just don’t understand it. I really don’t.
I wanted to believe Watson was innocent, and that this was all part of some great conspiracy on the Texans’ behalf to destroy his reputation in retaliation for demanding a trade.
But that’s impossible to believe at this point. The Texans themselves have now been implicated in this whole thing.
Now, it’s possible that the Texans could’ve been behind the whole thing from the start because, as the NYT story details, they were aware of everything going on.
But now they’ve been implicated themselves and are likely to suffer some serious consequences from the NFL along with Watson.
I have no idea what’s going to happen.
Now that we know pretty solidly that these allegations against Watson are more or less true, he should’ve settled them out of court a year ago.
I initially thought Watson was in the right to refuse to settle, and to want to see it played out in court and get his named cleared. It seemed like something an innocent person would do.
But now we know that he’s far from innocent. He may not have committed any crimes, but the pattern of behavior with dozens upon dozens of women shows that he’s not innocent of any wrongdoing.
Now it looks like his refusal to settle was a product of delusion and arrogance.
I have a feeling he’s going to be suspended for a long time now. Maybe a full year, honestly.
He sat out the entire 2021 NFL season, but that was not part of any suspension. That was due to his falling out with the Texans–he refused to play for them, and they refused to trade him.
There’s a very real possibility he won’t play at all in 2022.
I really don’t know how long this will take to play out, either. If he insists on taking all these cases to trial, that will take a long time. After all, there’s 24 of them.
If he chooses to settle them out of court now, it will likely be significantly more expensive than it would’ve been a year ago. I heard Mike Florio and Rich Eisen talking and they speculated it could cost up to $1 million per accuser for Watson to settle at this point. Florio said it was something like $25k per accuser back when the accusations first dropped, and then a few months after that it was around $100k per accuser. Now it will cost him millions–possibly tens of millions–to settle these cases. And that will make him much more likely to take his chances in court.
So I really don’t know. All any of us on the outside looking in can do is speculate, but I have a feeling we will not see DeShaun Watson play football in the 2022 NFL season.