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Settlement talks between Texans’ Watson and 22 women suing him for sexual misconduct ‘break down’


Settlement talks have broken down between Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and the 22 women suing him for sexual misconduct because his attorneys insisted the plaintiffs sign nondisclosure agreements.

‘In what was submitted to us, there were nondisclosure agreements and many of the women pushed back on those,’ the plaintiffs’ attorney, Tony Buzbee, told Houston’s Fox 26.

Although Buzbee changed the language in the nondisclosure proposal ‘substantially,’ he said Watson’s stipulation was ultimately a ‘deal breaker.’

‘There were still some women who said, ”I’m never going to sign that,”’ Buzbee told Fox 25. 

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.  

Settlement talks have broken down between Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and the 22 women suing him for sexual misconduct because his attorneys insisted the plaintiffs sign nondisclosure agreements

The plaintiffs' attorney, Tony Buzbee (pictured), told Houston's Fox 26 that the nondisclosure stipulation was a 'deal breaker' for his clients

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Tony Buzbee (pictured), told Houston’s Fox 26 that the nondisclosure stipulation was a ‘deal breaker’ for his clients

Neither plaintiffs' attorney Tony Buzbee nor Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin (pictured), had previously acknowledged that the two parties were engaged in mediation

Neither plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee nor Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin (pictured), had previously acknowledged that the two parties were engaged in mediation

Neither Buzbee nor Hardin had previously acknowledged that the two parties were engaged in mediation, although it had been speculated in the media. 

In March and April, Watson was accused of forcing women to perform oral sex on him, disrobing and forcibly touching massage therapists and other women, among several claims. He has denied the allegations, and through Hardin, has said that any sexual contact between himself and the women was consensual. The alleged incidents all took place in 2020 and 2021.

Watson, a first-round pick who started for the Texans over his first three seasons, has been benched in Houston following the accusations and his own reported trade demands.

The Miami Dolphins were interested in acquiring the former Clemson star at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, according to multiple reports. Talks progressed so far that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was granted permission to speak with Watson, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

According to Pro Football Talk, Watson’s mediation with plaintiffs played a major factor in the doomed trade talks.

When the Texans learned of a potential settlement between Watson and his accusers, the team’s asking price for the embattled 26-year-old soared and talks broke down from there, according to PFT.

Meanwhile the Houston Chronicle reported that deal would have been completed between the Texans and Dolphins if Watson’s legal issues could be resolved before the trade deadline.

That never came to fruition, so now Watson and the Texans are likely stuck together until March 16, 2022, when the next NFL trading period begins.

Another possibility would be for the Texans to release Watson or agree to a buyout of his four-year, $156 million contract extension he signed last year. In total, $111 million of the deal is guaranteed. 

Stephen Ross (pictured), owner of the Miami Dolphins, reportedly agreed to speak with Watson in anticipation of a trade with the Texans that never came to fruition

Stephen Ross (pictured), owner of the Miami Dolphins, reportedly agreed to speak with Watson in anticipation of a trade with the Texans that never came to fruition 

Although many were identified in court filings, most of Watson’s accusers have avoided interviews.

One exception is massage therapist Nia Lewis, who told YouTube personality Tasha K. about various sessions with Watson in which he allegedly harassed her and forcibly touched her against her wishes.

‘He basically didn’t want the rest of his body massaged, he wanted his groin area massaged and his butt only,’ Lewis told Tasha K. in August, echoing accusations from other female massage therapists against Watson. ‘He kept saying ”Do you want to put in your mouth?” It was just very very uncomfortable.’

Another massage therapist, Ashely Solis, said at a press conference in April that she is now struggling to continue work following her encounter with Watson in March of 2020.

‘I can no longer practice the profession that I love the most without shaking during the session,’ she said. ‘My hands shake whenever I place them on a client and have to cut the session short. If only he knew how heartbreaking that is to me.

‘I got into massage therapy to heal people — to heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride.’

Massage therapist Nia Lewis (right) told YouTube personality Tasha K. about various sessions with Watson in which he allegedly harassed her and forcibly touched her against her wishes

Massage therapist Nia Lewis (right) told YouTube personality Tasha K. about various sessions with Watson in which he allegedly harassed her and forcibly touched her against her wishes

One massage therapist, Ashely Solis (pictured), said at a press conference in April that she is now struggling to continue work following her encounter with Watson in March of 2020. 'I can no longer practice the profession that I love the most without shaking during the session,' she said. 'My hands shake whenever I place them on a client and have to cut the session short. If only he knew how heartbreaking that is to me. 'I got into massage therapy to heal people — to heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride'

One massage therapist, Ashely Solis (pictured), said at a press conference in April that she is now struggling to continue work following her encounter with Watson in March of 2020. ‘I can no longer practice the profession that I love the most without shaking during the session,’ she said. ‘My hands shake whenever I place them on a client and have to cut the session short. If only he knew how heartbreaking that is to me. ‘I got into massage therapy to heal people — to heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride’

According to Solis’s filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, Watson exposed himself during his massage in March of 2020 before adjusting his position to force his erect penis into her hand.

‘Plaintiff abruptly ended the massage and asked Watson to leave her house,’ read the filing.

Solis said she was in tears as Watson left. On his way out, she said, Watson told her: ‘I know you have a career and a reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just as I don’t want anyone messing with mine.’

‘I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I’m trying to wake up for some horrible nightmare, only that nightmare is real,’ she said Tuesday.

Later, Solis said, Watson reached out via text message to apologize for the incident, but she did not respond. Buzbee has since shared that alleged text message from Watson to Solis on social media.

‘Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable,’ read the text message. ‘Never were the intensions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies.’

The NFL has been investigating Watson, 26, since March, when the first of 23 women came forward with allegations ranging from harassment and indecent exposure to sexual assault (one plaintiff has since dropped her lawsuit).

The NFL had the option of placing Watson on the commissioner’s exempt list, effectively suspending him with pay as league investigation continues.





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