BEREA, Ohio ( Associated Press) — The new lawsuits — and more possible ones — against Deshaun Watson could have further damaged his image and changed opinion of the player.
However, the quarterback only becomes more determined in his responses.
The Cleveland Browns player reiterated Tuesday that he did not sexually abuse the dozens of women in Texas, adding that he intends to fight harder to clear his name.
“I never abused anyone,” Watson said after the Browns’ mandatory minicamp practice. “I never harassed anyone or disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”
Watson is facing a civil lawsuit from 24 massage therapists accusing him of sexual assault and harassment during private sessions in Houston, Texas. The athlete has insisted on his innocence.
Although he acknowledged that his actions affected others, Watson maintains that he did nothing wrong.
“I just want to clear my name,” he said.
This was Watson’s first public comment since his March 25 appearance with the Browns after he was convinced to waive a non-trade clause and signed a five-year, $230 million guaranteed deal.
Since then, his problems have increased. Two more women filed lawsuits after the complainants gave details of the disturbing encounters with Watson in interviews broadcast by “Real Sports with Bryan Gumbel” on HBO.
A report from The New York Times also surfaced, claiming that Watson booked sessions with at least 66 different women in 17 months with the Texans. On Monday, attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women, said he intends to file two more lawsuits against the quarterback.
Watson, who was not indicted in the criminal complaint by grand juries in two different Texas counties, could lose the public relations battle.
“I have been honest and I have told the truth about my position,” he said. “I never forced anyone or abused anyone.”
Buzbee released a statement following the news session with Watson.
“We appreciate the Cleveland market and their great support regarding their new quarterback Deshaun Watson,” he said. “But given the volume of credible cases brought against him, the testimony of the lead detective, the irrefutable facts, and the pain, anguish, and chaos that Watson has generated, we believe it would be appropriate for Deshaun Watson to express regret or remorse about the manner in which who treated the women, some who filed suit and many more who haven’t yet.”
There is also the situation of the 26-year-old’s future.
The NFL is investigating Watson to determine if the three-time Pro Bowler violated its personal conduct policy. Consequently, a long suspension could be imposed.