Deshaun Watson has been hit with 22 lawsuits, alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct towards massage therapists. And now his attorney is shedding some light on the situation. Rusty Hardin spoke to reporters on Friday and said that Watson admits to having sexual encounters with some of the massage therapists but insists it's always consensual.
"Were there consensual encounters? Yes," Hardin said per TMZ. That led to one reporter asking if Watson reached out to some of the women booking a massage time and then engaging in sexual acts. Hardin said: "On some occasions, some sexual activities would have taken place. I'm not going into what it is, or the nature, or the numbers, or with whom but I think you can rightfully assume that."
"The question 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," Hardin stated. Hardin also explained that Watson gets around 150 massages per year to keep his body in shape. He also said the Houston Texans quarterback use Instagram to find a therapist is because the COVID-19 pandemic made it more challenging to find a regular masseuse.
Hardin also was asked about Watson's reactions to the 22 lawsuits. "He's dumbfounded. He's truly dumbfounded, Hardin revealed. "If you're the average citizen that's never been caught up in anything, this is insane. That's really his reaction. When I told him of that first allegation and the third lawsuit that somehow he used force or something, I didn't know him at the time, when I told him he was in disbelief."
In March, Watson attempted to get ahead of the story. "As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff's lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me," Watson wrote on social media. "I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect. The plaintiff's lawyer claims that this isn't about money, but before filing the suit, he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected. Unlike him, this isn't about money for me - it's about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that."