In recent weeks, NFL pundits have been feverishly speculating about potential landing spots for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, with many pointing to Miami as a likely destination.
The 26-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler who should be in the prime of his career. However, he was ruled out of every game in the 2021 season due to “non-injury reasons/personal matter”—or at least, that’s what the Texans called it. The reality is far more grim.
Over the past year, 22 women have filed civil lawsuits against Watson claiming a range of sexual misconduct offenses. All of the alleged victims were masseuses who say Watson crossed lines during their massage therapy sessions, from Watson allegedly rubbing his erect penis against them without their consent to forcing them to perform oral sex. A number of the women say in their suits that they suffered from PTSD following the incidents, including crippling anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. Watson, through his lawyer Rusty Hardin, has denied the women’s allegations, saying that any “active sexual activity” that happened during the massage sessions was “mutually desired by the other party.”
Despite the large number of accusers, all of whom have shared strikingly similar stories, Watson has yet to face any legal repercussions or be suspended by the league. And The Daily Beast has learned that Watson has attempted to settle with a number of his accusers, offering them between five- and six-figure sums in exchange for their silence.
The Daily Beast has exclusively obtained one of these settlement offers from Watson to an accuser—who said she refused to sign, turning him down. The woman has requested anonymity. You can read the settlement offer here:
In the settlement offer, Watson “denies all such claims and liability, including the facts alleged” by the accuser, and says the $100,000 payment is meant to “buy peace.”
If the accuser were to accept, they would then agree to dismiss the pending civil suit within 24 hours and adhere to strict confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses contained in the agreement, including that neither party nor their agents “will speak, write, or otherwise communicate publicly or privately, including in any interviews, social media posts, blog posts, articles or any other media or forum, on the terms of this Agreement, and the amount of the settlement”; will not disclose the “Settlement Amount”; and that any violation of the agreement’s terms “will cause irreparable harm and that money damages will be inadequate to fully compensate for such damages.”
The FBI and Houston police are currently investigating the sexual misconduct allegations made against Watson, and last month the police issued a series of search warrants for Watson’s social media accounts.