The NFL already has a way to deal with players like Watson – it’s just not always as easy as they might think. If the league wants to avoid further court cases, it needs more transparency and better education for its players on how their behavior affects others.
The “deshaun watson update” is a breaking news story about the Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The NFL announced that they won’t be pressing charges against him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations.
HOUSTON, Texas — Following a police investigation spurred by lawsuits filed by 22 women accusing him of harassment and sexual assault, a grand jury on Friday refused to prosecute Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
On Friday, prosecutors from the district attorney’s office in Harris County, Texas, presented evidence and testimony before the 12-member grand jury on nine of the ten criminal allegations brought against Watson for more than six hours. All nine cases were dismissed by the grand jury, which does not need a unanimous decision; prosecutors did not submit the tenth case.
According to Johna Stallings, head of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office’s adult sex crimes and trafficking section, the grand jury’s decision halted criminal proceedings against Watson in Harris County, where Houston is situated.
“It’s a really emotional time for me.” I realize we’re far from through with what we need to accomplish on the legal side, but it is obviously a momentous day,” Watson said during a press conference outside his lawyer’s office building, speaking to media for the first time in over a year. “I praise Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, for allowing the truth to be heard. And I appreciate everyone who took part in seeing and hearing all viewpoints. That’s what my objective and my team intended to do: have a level playing field with each of us providing our side of the story and allowing the grand jury decide on what occurred today.
“I’m simply going to keep trying to reclaim my reputation and reestablish myself in the community. And on the legal side, take care of what we need to take care of. But he’s also excited to go out on the field and practice.”
Stallings would not specify what accusations could have been brought to the grand jury’s attention.
She said, “We appreciate the grand jury’s conclusion.”
Watson’s initial legal complaint was filed about a year ago, and the news on Friday came nearly a year later. The 22 civil complaints accuse him of doing anything from groping women with his genitals to forcing oral sex during massage treatments.
Eight of the women who sued Watson had filed criminal charges against him with Houston cops and were scheduled to testify in front of a grand jury. Two additional women who did not file a lawsuit against Watson also submitted police reports.
After the initial criminal complaint was filed in April 2021, Houston police started investigating Watson. The claims were also being investigated by the FBI.
Watson’s attorneys claim that “some sexual behavior” occurred during some of the massage visits, but that he never forced anybody to do anything.
“We are thrilled that the grand jury has carefully investigated the situation and reached the same conclusion we did,” Watson’s primary attorney, Rustin Hardin, said in a statement. “Deshaun Watson did not conduct any crimes and is not a convicted felon. We are excited to go on with the civil case depositions now that the criminal investigations have been finished. With all we have, we will forcefully fight those cases.”
Watson testified in two civil cases against him earlier Friday at Hardin’s law business, which is just a half-mile from the Harris County criminal courtroom in downtown Houston, where the grand jury convened.
During the deposition, Watson used his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, according to Hardin.
The attorney for the 22 women, Tony Buzbee, said the criminal case is independent from the civil proceedings and that he would continue to question Watson as the lawsuits go into trial.
“The civil suits are expected to continue to gain traction. Mr. Watson’s deposition will be taken again on Tuesday. Observe the procedure, “Friday, Buzbee said.
The cases have yet to be scheduled for a trial date.
“We have been carefully watching all developments in the situation,” said a spokeswoman for the NFL, which is investigating Watson under its personal conduct code.
Despite the fact that Watson has not played for the Texans since the first lawsuit was filed on March 16, 2020, he remained on the active roster in 2021 and was a healthy scratch for all 17 games. He received his whole base pay of $10.54 million. Hardin said last year that he didn’t anticipate Watson to talk with the NFL’s investigation team until the criminal inquiry was over.
Watson requested a trade from the Texans in January 2021, citing his dissatisfaction with the team’s approach. While officials of the Texans’ organization have refused to comment on Watson’s legal predicament, general manager Nick Caserio indicated earlier this month that the club is dealing with Watson’s situation “day to day.” The Texans are looking for a “quick resolution” to Watson’s future with the organization, according to coach Lovie Smith.
The trade market for the star quarterback is likely to heat up immediately, with league sources telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Houston is open to trading him and that many clubs are interested.
This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.
The “deshaun watson reddit” is a subreddit that discusses the NFL player, Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans quarterback was not charged in connection with sexual misconduct allegations made against him by a woman on social media.
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