The Houston Texans have reached a settlement with 30 women who accused NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexually harassing them at massage appointments, according to Toni Busby, the women’s representative.
One of Watson’s accusers filed a lawsuit last month against the Texans, Watson’s former employer, alleging the organization “turned a blind eye” to Watson’s behavior toward female masseurs while he played for the team. She is the only plaintiff to file a lawsuit against the Texans, but in a statement, Buzby said the settlements apply to “all women who have filed or intended to file a claim against the Houston Texans.”
Twenty-four women filed lawsuits against Watson alleging he molested or harassed them during massages between 2020 and 2021, when he was on the Texans’ roster. Watson, who has denied any wrongdoing, settled 20 lawsuits last month. The identities of the additional six women who reached settlements with the Texans are unknown, and Busby declined to share any additional details about their claims against Watson or the team.
“I will not comment further on the allegations or the Texans’ alleged role, other than to say that there is a stark contrast between the Texans’ handling of these allegations and the Watson team’s handling of them. said Buzby.
According to Buzby, the terms of the settlement, including the financial amount, are confidential.
The Texans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
News of the women’s settlement with the Texans comes as Watson awaits a decision on how to be punished by the NFL following a three-day hearing last month before an arbitrator appointed jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association. . Two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson in March. After the first grand jury declined to indict, and before the second did, the Browns traded for Watson, signing him to an unprecedented, fully guaranteed five-year contract worth $230 million.
Before one of Watson’s accusers filed a lawsuit against the Texans, a New York Times investigation found the team provided a venue Watson used for massage appointments, leading to civil claims or criminal charges. A team representative also presented him with a non-disclosure agreement after a woman who later sued him threatened to expose his behavior online.
Buzby said the woman’s lawsuit against the Texans will be dismissed with prejudice once the settlement paperwork is finalized. Four lawsuits against Watson are still pending — including one by a woman who sued the Texans — and the settlement with the Texans does not affect those cases.
Busby reiterated that “the four cases against Deshaun Watson will continue” and that all four are expected to go to trial in the spring of 2023.