Browns’ Deshaun Watson breaks silence in wake of additional civil suits: ‘I never assaulted anyone’

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time in nearly three months on Tuesday.

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson hadn’t spoken to the media since March 25. On Tuesday, he broke his silence following the filing of two additional civil lawsuits in his ongoing legal process that stems from allegations of sexual misconduct.

Deshaun Watson addresses sexual misconduct lawsuits

In the nearly three months since his introductory press conference with the Browns, Watson has met with the NFL, watched HBO Sports air a special about the sexual misconduct allegations levied against him, and seen his lawsuit number grow. Watson acknowledged that the accusations are serious, but he is on a quest to clear his name.

“Like I said, I never assaulted anyone,” Watson said. “I never harassed anyone or never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”

Watson faces 24 civil suits, and the legal process now becomes his words against two-dozen accusers.

“I’ve been honest, and I’ve been truthful about my stance,” Watson said. “I never forced anyone. I never assaulted anyone. That’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning, and I’m going to continue to do that until all of the facts come out. On the legal side, I have to just go with the process of my legal team and the court of law.”

Watson was asked about the potential of a countersuit considering his stance and the severity of the allegations on his character and reputation. He told the Cleveland media that he hadn’t considered a defamation suit.

“As far as that, I haven’t gotten into any of that,” Watson said. “My biggest thing is just clearing my name, so I can get back and be in the environment that I’m most comfortable in, and that’s being in the community, helping people, and being that role model and leader, and also being on the football field with my teammates.”

Last week, the New York Times published a lengthy piece on Watson’s history of allegations and how he went about seeking massages from strangers on Instagram. The article alleged that Watson received massages from at least 66 women over the span of 17 months.

Watson was asked about the report and refused to confirm the total, stating, “I don’t think so, from what me and my attorneys went through.”

“At the same time, that’s more of a legal question that I really can’t get into details about,” Watson said. “So, you probably have to ask my attorneys and things like that to confirm.”

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson addresses reporters following minicamp on June 14, 2022
Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks to the media after minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Watson could be facing a lengthy suspension from the NFL in the wake of the allegations. Despite not being charged with a crime, the number of cases and allegations made against Watson has forced the NFL to investigate the matter, and that process is ongoing.

“I met with the NFL a couple of weeks ago and did everything they asked me to do,” Watson said. “I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me, I spent hours with the people that they brought down, and that’s all I can do, be honest and tell them exactly what happened. I know they have a job, and I have to respect that, so that’s exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to cooperate, and they have to make a decision that’s best for the league.”

While Watson has stood firm on his innocence, he does regret the way the legal process has played out for those around him. He understands that this process impacts more than just himself.

Said Watson: “That’s one thing I do regret, is the impact that it’s triggered on so many people.”

Toward the end of the press conference, Watson was asked how he was mentally holding up, given all the media coverage of his civil suits. He acknowledged that he has sought counseling for mental health.

“It’s been a long year and a half, I can say that,” Watson said. “Personally — it’s just been tough. Since I came here and became a Cleveland Brown, I’ve been able to use all of the resources that his organization has and been able to start using counseling and talking with someone just to make sure my mental [health] is straight, so I can be prepared and walk on this field and be as sharp as I possibly can.

“I’m going to continue to do that and be the best person and grow as an individual, grow as a human being, and just be the citizen/person I can be outside of this field. Also, when I walk inside this building, be the best teammate and player I can be.”

Mike Kaye is the Lead NFL Reporter for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @mike_e_kaye.

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