Deshaun Watson Admits Regret About Legal Mess, Directs Questions to Legal Team

Deshaun Watson said Tuesday he enters the Cleveland Browns locker room with “my head held high” and if any teammates have questions about his current legal situation “they know they can come to my locker and ask me.”

But when reporters asked Watson questions about his legal issue — with 24 massage therapists alleging Watson engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment during sessions over a 17-month period when he was with the Houston Texans — Watson wasn’t quite so eager to answer directly or provide details.


Watson instead largely directed questions to his legal team.

“I know there’s legal proceedings going on so I know you guys have a lot of questions that you probably want answers to and want to ask,” Watson told reporters. “Some of those, I’ll try my best to answer but at the same time I have to respect the process that’s still going on. I may, may not be able to answer those questions. I hope you guys respect that and let the proceedings continue to work out.”

Pertinent question No. 1: Why should a jury believe him over the 24 women who have filed civil lawsuits against him, all of them delivering similar allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment:

“I understand that question and I definitely respect it. But I feel like with this environment coming off the football field it’s hard to answer that question without talking to anybody on my legal team,” Watson said. “But at the same time, I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful about my stance. I never forced anyone, I never assaulted anyone.


“So that’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning and I’m going to continue to do that until all the facts come out on the legal side.”

Pertinent question No. 2: If he is indeed innocent, has Watson considered a countersuit against what he might consider false allegations?

“As far as that, I haven’t gotten to any of that,” Watson said. “My biggest thing is just wanting to clear my name and get back in an environment I’m most comfortable in and that’s been in the community and helping people and being that role model and leader and being on the football field with my teammates and try to win ballgames.”

Pertinent question No. 3: Watson told reporters in his introductory presser he would not settle out of court but one report has since surfaced that his side offered some litigants $100,000 to settle. So was a settlement offered or not?


“I felt like there’s a lot of articles [that are] out there and facts and things like that,” Watson said. “There was a process that was going on back in November with another organization. I can’t get too far in details with that. With the process that was going on before I became a Cleveland Brown, that’s a whole other discussion.”

Pertinent question No. 4: Was the 66 number of different women the New York Times said had given massages to Watson over a 17-month period correct?

“Um, I mean I can ask, I don’t think so, from what me and my attorneys went through,” Watson said. “But that’s more a legal question that I can’t get into details about. You have to ask my attorneys and things like that to confirm.”

Finally, does Watson stand by his statement and story he’s never “disrespected” any woman and has no regrets about what he did?

“Yeah, that question kind of triggered a lot of people, not just women in general but a lot of people from women to males and things like that. What I was saying was, yes, I’ve never assaulted or disrespected or harassed anyone.

“But at the same time I do understand that I do have regrets as far as the impacts that it’s had on the community and people outside of just myself — and that includes my family, that includes this organization, that includes my teammates in this locker room that have to answer to these questions, that includes the fanbase of the Cleveland Browns, that includes males, females, everyone across the world.

“That’s one thing I do regret is the impact it has had to trigger so many people. And, yeah, it’s tough to deal with.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.


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