The attorney for Deshaun Watson said during a Friday press conference that there were consensual sexual encounters between his client and his massages therapists, but they were not coercive and Watson didn’t use his status as a celebrity athlete to force anyone into such acts.
“In some of these massages there’s going to be no question — we’ve never run from it — our first announcement has always been about consent, that on some occasions some active sexual activity would have taken place,” Rusty Hardin said. “I’m not going to go into what it is, the nature, the numbers or with whom, but I think you can rightfully assume that question always, that we have always been emphasizing, never at any time, under any circumstances … did this young man ever engage in anything that was not mutually desired by the other party.”
This came on the heels of other news earlier in the day, that most of the women accusing Texans Watson of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct have to reveal their identities, two judges have ruled.
That news, covering 13 of the 22 lawsuits filed against the star quarterback, came with only two of the women have been previously identified.
During a hearing at the 113th District Court, the accusers’ attorney, Tony Buzbee, and Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, agreed that nine of the 12 women would reveal themselves by Wednesday. Judge Raveea Sultan Collier granted a request by Hardin that the other three women release their names as well.
Hardin argued that Buzbee was trying to “kill the reputation of our client” by the use of the accusers’ anonymity in the first first hearing of the day, which was held at the 270th District Court.
Buzbee countered by saying that anonymity is common in these types of cases. He used one of the accusers, Ashley Solis, as an example. After coming forward, Solis received death threats.
Buzbee said that he was OK with Hardin and his team being made aware of a woman’s identity, but not making it public. Judge Dedra David didn’t agree.
“We need a balance of interests. A balance of interests is required for both parties,” Davis said.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told ESPN the allegations against Watson were “deeply disturbing,” and that the league is looking into the matter. Watson has denied any wrongdoing.