Deshaun Watson settles 20 sexual assault lawsuits, accusers’ lawyer says

Handful of cases still hang over QB’s head as ‘unprecedented’ NFL punishment looms

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Deshaun Watson settles 20 sexual assault lawsuits, accusers’ lawyer says
Image: Getty Images

Disgraced Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson now only has four pending lawsuits brought against him. That’s because 20 cases against the former Houston Texans starter have settled, attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Since March 2021, up to 26 lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions have been filed against Watson — with all but two of the accusers represented by Buzbee — and the NFL is reportedly poised to levy an “unprecedented” punishment against the 26-year-old. One lawsuit was dropped by an accuser when a judge stated her case needed to be amended with her name. More lawsuits against Watson could be filed in the coming days.

Most notably, Ashley Solis, the first Watson accuser to publicly identify herself, isn’t one of the 20 women to settle. The paperwork for the 20 settled cases is currently being curated. Once completed, those cases will be dismissed, per Buzbee. The terms of each settlement won’t be disclosed and Buzbee said he won’t comment further on anything but the four pending lawsuits.


The Texas-based attorney said in a statement:

“Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story. Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with the other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.

“The truth is, without [Solis’] courage and willingness to come forward, the NFL wouldn’t currently be contemplating discipline; there would be no examination of how teams might knowingly or unknowingly enable certain behavior; sports teams wouldn’t be reviewing their personnel screening processes; and this important story wouldn’t have dominated the sports headlines for more than a year.”


Two juries in Texas didn’t pursue criminal cases against Watson, AND the NFL’s investigation into whether the former Clemson quarterback broke the league’s code of conduct is still ongoing, with heavy fines and suspensions on the table pending the outcome of the league’s probe. “Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

After the first grand jury chose not to indict him, Watson was traded to the Browns for a heavy haul, including three first-round draft picks. Watson maintains his innocence and said he has no regrets with his actions.


Tuesday’s announcement also won’t change the discourse surrounding Watson’s actions and whether he should suit up for Cleveland until all of the lawsuits brought against him have been tried or settled. Having 20 women settle cases against him should illustrate to the public at large the scope of Watson’s actions. That’s the scary and just part. Watson can’t buy his way out of this problem. It’s too big.