The number of women alleging sexual assault against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to rise. Balloon actually. In a press conference with the media, Tony Buzbee, the attorney filing civil suits against Watson, said that his office has taken on 12 different plaintiffs since the first allegation earlier this week, and is currently speaking with 10 more, bringing the potential number to 22 different suits of a similar nature against Watson.
Watson has now hired well-known defense attorney Rusty Hardin, who previously represented former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in his 2014 child abuse case, Warren Moon in 1996 when he was charged with choking and beating his wife, and Roger Clemens in his landmark PED case.
At the beginning of his press conference, Buzbee addressed some talking points that have been making the rounds on the internet.
“I need to dispel some silly rumors,” Buzbee said. “Yes, I lived on River Oak Dr, but I do not know the McNair family. Cal or Hal or whatever his name is — I wouldn’t know him if I saw him on the street. This has nothing to do with the Texans, nothing to do with free agency or timing or anything.”
Buzbee also added that one of the plaintiffs was referred to Watson by his personal quarterback coach, Quincy Avery, and another was referred by a trainer for the Houston Texans.
When asked if any police reports have been filed, Buzbee said that none have been filed to his knowledge. He said his intention right now is to make sure all civil cases are filed, and that police reports are going to be his next step. Buzbee also indicated that he will be putting together a complete package and submit it to the police department.
More civil suits will be following. Buzbee indicated that Watson’s representation has known about these charges “for more than a month,” and that he has had no contact with the Houston Texans organization.
The NFL told the Texans on Thursday that they have begun an investigation into the allegations against Watson. In an email to NBC, a Texans spokesperson said:
“The NFL informed us today that they will conduct an investigation into the allegations made in the civil lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson. We will stay in close contact with the league as they do. We continue to take this and all matters involving anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We do not anticipate making any additional statements until the NFL’s investigation concludes.”
According to the personal conduct policy, the NFL can suspend Watson regardless of the outcome of a criminal conviction or investigation if they feel that his behavior is “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.”