More than 20 women have accused Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions, and there was a time when 18 of those cases were on the brink of being legally settled.
In fact, none of them are, not after Watson was cleared of criminal charges by a grand jury earlier this year. Still, Watson still faces multiple civil suits, not to mention potential punishment from the NFL.
No matter, attorney Rusty Hardin told Cleveland.com that “no settlement talks are in the offing” in relations to the civil suits.
After meeting with NFL investigators last week, Watson and the Browns may not learn his fate for the 2022 season until the end of June, or even early July. Recent speculation has indicated he could be suspended for the entire season. Others suspect he’ll miss only a handful of games.
Both the NFL and the Browns are in a bit of pickle here, as the league will want to try to win in the court of public opinion. But there doesn’t seem to be much winning in this case. Instead, it’s more like degrees of losing.
“My approach all along was that we were not going to win the battle of public opinion,’’ Hardin told Cleveland.com. “And my goal has always been to have these cases examined by law enforcement and I strongly believed that trained investigators would ultimately conclude that there was nothing to them from a criminal standpoint and that’s where my focus has always been.
“I thought that’s what the NFL teams cared most about and with the exception of Miami, that’s true.”