Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached a confidential settlement with all but four of the 24 women who sued and accused Watson of sexual misconduct during massage sessions, according to a Tuesday statement by the women’s attorney Tony Buzbee.
“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.”
The settlements end the women’s litigation against Watson nearly 15 months after many were filed in 2021.
One of the non-settled cases belonged to the first plaintiff who sued Watson, Ashley Solis. Solis, who appeared on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel segment on the Watson investigation back in May, was credited by Buzbee for jump-starting the case against the quarterback in Tuesday’s statement.
“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,” Buzbee stated. “I am incredibly proud to represent them all. They have endured vile criticism and fanatical ignorance. They faced withering cross examination by skilled litigators and stood firm. They are warriors all. Today we have an important announcement about these cases, but it is important to point out that, without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered. The truth is, without her 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; sports teams wouldn’t be reviewing their personnel screening processes; and this important story wouldn’t have dominated the sports headlines for more than a year.”
Buzbee added that he looks forward to trying the remaining cases “in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”
Watson, 26, was not arrested or criminally charged after two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him. There is still no word on whether or not Watson will serve a suspension at the hands of the National Football League’s personal conduct policy.
The quarterback sat out the entirety of the 2021 NFL season amidst a trade request from the Houston Texans, as well as the off-the-field controversies.