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Sports Opinion: How many women does it take, NFL, before you take action against Deshaun Watson?

00:45  08 april  2021
00:45  08 april  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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Two of the 22 women who have accused  Deshaun Watson  of sexual assault and harassment in separate lawsuits publicly spoke out Tuesday, detailing their experiences with the Houston Texans quarterback. During a news conference, Ashley Solis, the first woman to file suit against Watson The Associated Press usually does not name victims of sexual assault, but Solis has chosen to publicly identify herself. "I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman . I am seeking justice not just on behalf of myself but for all survivors. This is about having my voice

The National Football League quarterback has been accused of sexual misconduct in lawsuits filed by 22 women . On Tuesday, Watson 's first accuser spoke publicity. The Houston Texans quarterback is backed by companies including Nike and Beats By Dre. Like Roethlisberger, if Watson does overcome the bad publicity and he gets traded to a bigger market NFL club with more appeal, brands who walk away could open up doors for competition. "The difficulty with dropping – you score points immediately in the court of public opinion , but if the allegations are proven to be untrue, or if they are

A question for the NFL: How many women accusers does it take before you act against Deshaun Watson?

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Deshaun Watson is facing 22 lawsuits from women alleging sexual misconduct. © Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports Deshaun Watson is facing 22 lawsuits from women alleging sexual misconduct.

Saying the allegations are "deeply disturbing" doesn't count as action. Everyone is "deeply disturbed" by what we're seeing. Those words have also become so watered down they don't mean as much as they used to. I'm deeply disturbed when my wireless quits.

But back to the original question. Is there a specific number? Is it five women saying Watson behaved inappropriately? We passed that number long ago. Is it 10? Passed that, too. Fifteen? That's very March. Twenty? Amazingly, we've left that number in the dust as well.

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Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride. I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. McCarthy said that the league launched an investigation under its personal conduct policy last month after the first allegations and that the NFL is “continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.” In a letter Monday to Texans season-ticket holders that is regularly sent in the spring, the McNair family addressed the civil lawsuits and a complaint filed with the Houston Police Department against Watson , saying, “We want

Eventually, the woman started crying and before she was able to get Watson to leave, he allegedly said "I know you have a career and reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just like I don't want anyone messing with mine." The woman took that as a threat that Watson might try to ruin her career if she said anything. With an ongoing NFL investigation, it might also become more difficult for the Texans to trade their star quarterback as other teams might want to see how the investigation plays out before making a deal for the 25-year-old. Possible police involvement.

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We're now at 22 women filing lawsuits against Watson, with some of them making various (but similar) accusations of sexual misconduct, including grabbing them, exposing himself, touching them with his genitals, ejaculating on them or forcing them to put their mouths on his genitals.

Even if you believe that half of them are lying, or their lawyer, Tony Buzbee, is a clown orchestrating it all, that still leaves a large number of women accusers. Are they all lying? Every single one of them?

The NFL has mostly been quiet as one of the ugliest stories in recent league history has unfolded before the country. That inaction has to change. That inaction makes it seem like the NFL doesn't care. While one of the only tools commissioner Roger Goodell could utilize, the exempt list, hasn't been used in the offseason before, putting Watson on it would send the message the NFL has at least a modicum of interest in the issue.

Two women suing Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual misconduct come forward with statements

  Two women suing Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual misconduct come forward with statements Two of the women suing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual misconduct revealed their identities and released statements on Tuesday.Ashley Solis, a licensed massage therapist, was the first Watson accuser to reveal her identity among the 22 who have filed lawsuits against the Texans QB since March 16. After she read her statement in front of TV cameras, one of her attorneys also revealed the name of a second woman who made similar allegations in a lawsuit – Lauren Baxley, who was identified as another therapist.

Buzbee represents women who claim that Watson crossed the line during massage sessions. One woman accusing Watson of sexual assault. Thus far no criminal charges have been filed against Watson , and ESPN'S Adam Schefter had this to say about the unfolding drama surrounding the Texans star quarterback. During a Friday press conference aimed at giving more publicity to cases against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson that lawyer Tony Buzbee claims aren’t about publicity, Buzbee publicized the notion that the Houston Police Department has contacted him regarding the cases.

"These women say they are deeply troubled by the accusations made against Deshaun and that these claims are wholly inconsistent with their experiences with him and who they believe him to be," the statement read. "All of them stated that Deshaun never made them feel uncomfortable or demanded The allegations, what's been discussed, are certainly troubling. Organizationally that's not something that we can condone, that we condone, those types of actions . But again we'll let the legal process take care of itself, and however it 's gonna unfold, we'll certainly comply and do what we can to help

Because right now, the league seems completely disinterested. It looks feckless, like it's waiting for the whole thing to blow over, as if it's a normal news event like a trade. Maybe if Watson overinflated a football the league would take action.

In fact, Nike has taken sterner action than the league has. It's a problem when a shoe company morally and ethically outflanks you.

More: Nike suspends endorsement deal with Deshaun Watson; Beats by Dre ends partnership

More: Two women suing Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual misconduct come forward with statements

The reasons why the league should act are numerous, and every hurdle Watson's defenders raise continues to be cleared. Watson has a sterling rep, his backers say. So did Bill Cosby. Hey, wait a minute, none of them have gone to the police. One just did. The lawyer is a carnival barker. That may be true, but if it's all fake, it's one of the greatest fakes in history, and Buzbee is doing it at his own peril. All of the women are anonymous. Not any longer. Two came forward this week.

22nd woman files civil lawsuit against Texans QB Deshaun Watson, alleging sexual misconduct

  22nd woman files civil lawsuit against Texans QB Deshaun Watson, alleging sexual misconduct A 22nd woman has filed a lawsuit against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is also the subject of an investigation by Houston police.The unnamed woman, who is described in the complaint as a licensed esthetician, alleges Watson contacted her on Instagram to schedule a massage, then exposed himself and touched her with his genitals on Nov. 9, 2020. Watson also made a sexually suggestive comment to the woman, according to the lawsuit, but she told him it was not professional and ended the session.

If the lawsuits proceed through trial, the litigation could take two full years, or more . Eventually, the NFL will have to decide whether to place Watson on paid leave while the 21 cases (and counting, possibly) work their way through the court system. Lawsuits against Deshaun Watson reach 21 originally appeared on That’s how many women made positive statements about Watson ’s character, which his lawyer released almost as soon as the newest lawsuits went live on the Harris county district clerk’s website. These testimonials are mentioned in news stories alongside the growing pile of suits – as if

More Watson suits filed; 18 women defend QB. Houston Texans. NFL execs predict Deshaun Watson 's future: His value, trade fits and how the Texans got here. McNair did not consult Watson before the Texans hired their general manager, which is where some of Watson 's frustration If the Texans trade Watson , the yearly proration accelerates against the Texans as a dead money charge.

Ashley Solis, the first woman to sue Watson, spoke to reporters on Tuesday.

"Deshaun Watson assaulted and harassed me on March 30, 2020, in my own home, doing what I love most: Massage therapy," Solis said. "I replay the incident over and over in my head, as if I'm trying to wake up from some horrible nightmare. Only that nightmare is real."

Even if you want to believe all of Buzbee's clients are lying as part of a mass conspiracy, the woman interviewed by Sports Illustrated isn't a client of his.

From the SI story: "Watson stayed on his back for the entire session. While massaging his abdomen, Mary says she noticed 'different fluids on his stomach.' She remembers questioning whether it was really pre-ejaculate, telling herself, 'This can’t be what I think it is.' In the final five to 10 minutes of the session, Mary says Watson began thrusting his pelvis in the air again, this time much faster. 'At that point, I recognized it for what it was,' Mary says. She says she told him he needed to 'calm down.' He stopped, the session ended and she left the room to let him get dressed."

Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson describes women's lawsuits as 'money grab'

  Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson describes women's lawsuits as 'money grab' Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson filed his first official answer to the 22 lawsuits that accuse him of sexual misconductWatson’s version of events came Monday in his first official answer to the 22 lawsuits that have been filed against him since March 16. Many of the women say he exposed himself and caused them to touch his genitals during massage sessions after contacting them on Instagram for their services.

Does that sound fake to you?

One of the biggest arguments against the NFL taking any action now is that you have to allow for due process or wait for criminal charges.

But the NFL hasn't always cared about due process or criminal charges in the past. When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault, the NFL suspended him six games. There was an investigation by police but Roethlisberger was never charged with a crime.

The letter Goodell wrote to Roethlisberger in 2010 was remarkable and could easily apply to Watson today.

"The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline 'even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime' as, for example, where the conduct 'imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person,' " Goodell wrote.

"As the District Attorney concluded, the extensive investigatory record shows that you contributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by purchasing [or facilitating the purchase of] alcoholic beverages for underage college students," Goodell wrote, "at least some of whom were likely already intoxicated. There is no question that the excessive consumption of alcohol that evening put the students and yourself at risk. The Personal Conduct Policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that 'undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.' By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard."

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"I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you," Goodell continued. "My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans."

This isn't to say that Watson should be suspended. It's that Goodell is on the record saying convictions aren't the only metrics, and what matters is if conduct "undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL."

We also know that the NFL loves to talk about how much it cares about women when it suits them. The league has women's summits, where it brags about all of the progress women are making in the sport. Goodell, at the first one in 2016, emphasized how important women are to the league.

"We believe in diversity," Goodell said. "We believe we're better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table. We're also seeing it on the field. Sarah (Thomas) was our first NFL female official on the field this year, and she did a fantastic job, and we're very proud of her."

"You can see that progress is being made," he said. "And our commitment is we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening, that on the team or the league level, that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates. Well, we're going to make that commitment and we're going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that with women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we're going to keep making progress here and make a difference."

Seth Rogen Clears Up Rumor That Emma Watson 'Stormed Off' This Is the End Set: 'Complete Bulls—'

  Seth Rogen Clears Up Rumor That Emma Watson 'Stormed Off' This Is the End Set: 'Complete Bulls—' Seth Rogen said the narrative surrounding the disagreement "misrepresents what actually happened" and that Emma Watson was "put in an uncomfortable position"In an interview with British GQ for the magazine's May 2021 cover story, the 38-year-old actor addressed a long-standing rumor that Watson walked off the set of the 2013 film after refusing to shoot a scene in which costar Danny McBride is a cannibal and is holding Channing Tatum on a leash wearing a leather mask as his gimp.

It's good the NFL is empowering women.

However, there isn't a better message to show women they matter than acting against Watson.

So, we are back to that question, NFL:

How many women does it take?

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: How many women does it take, NFL, before you take action against Deshaun Watson?

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