The attorney representing 30 women who have accused former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct announced on Friday that claims and potential claims against the football franchise will be settled through a confidential agreement, according to NFL.com.
Tony Buzbee, the lawyer representing the women, released a statement announcing the settlement agreement.
“Today, all of the women who have made, or intended to make, claims against the Houston Texans have resolved their claims,” Buzbee said in the statement.
Most of the women were preparing to file charges against the team for facilitating the apparent misconduct, which allegedly occurred during massage sessions while Watson was a member of the Texans. Only one accuser had actually filed charges against the team.
The women claim that the team was complicit in the alleged assaults and bore responsibility because the team provided the location and the massage tables and even gave Watson a Non-Disclosure Agreement form to use to prevent the women from speaking publicly about the incidents.
The team has denied any wrongdoing, and the settlement does not require the team to accept responsibility.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then franchise quarterback in March 2021,” Texans owners Janice McNair, Hannah McNair, and Cal McNair said in a joint statement Friday. “Although our organization did not have any knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of any wrongdoing but instead a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and misconduct.
“We hope that today’s resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans, and the Houston community at large. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and doing what we can to ensure respect for all.”
The settlement agreement amount and the details of the settlement will not be made public, according to Buzzbee.
“I will have no further comment on the allegations or the Texans’ alleged role other than to say that there is a marked contrast in the way in which the Texans addressed these allegations and the way in which Watson’s team has done so,” Buzbee said. “As has been previously reported, only one of the thirty women who made allegations against the Texans filed a formal lawsuit. That particular lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice as soon as the appropriate settlement paperwork is complete.”
Watson’s legal team settled 20 of the 24 claims against him in June. That agreement was also not publicized but was a significant step toward Watson receiving a trade out of Houston. He is now a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Earlier this year, two grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges arising from the accusations. Watson has maintained that he is innocent of the charges against him and has said that any sexual conduct was purely consensual.
Watson still faces possible punishment from the NFL, which is currently conducting an independent investigation into the allegations.
In his first media appearance as a member of the Browns organization, the quarterback stated that the NFL’s Personal Conduct investigation would “clear [his] name and be able to let the facts and the legal procedures continue to play out.”
The league did not issue a statement about the settlement of the claims.