Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson admitted during a pretrial deposition last week that one of his disputed encounters with a massage therapist ended with the woman crying, followed by an apology sent to her by text message from Watson, according to the woman’s attorney.
This verifies a portion of the women’s claims against him and raises the question of what caused to her cry during their encounter. In his deposition, Watson said he didn’t know, according to the attorney, Tony Buzbee. The woman is suing Watson for civil assault and claims in her lawsuit that Watson purposely touched her with his penis during the massage, causing her to feel scared and cry.
Watson left and sent her a text message apologizing afterward: “Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable,” he wrote, according to a screenshot of it previously posted by her lawyers. “Never were the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies.”
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The deposition last week was taken on behalf of the therapist, Ashley Solis, the first of 22 women who have sued Watson and accused him of similar sexual misconduct during massage sessions from early 2020 to March 2021. The encounter with Solis came on March 30, 2020, in her home in the Houston area.
“But you know why you sent that text apology afterwards?” Buzbee asked Watson during the deposition last week, according to a partial transcript obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
“Yes, because she was teary-eyed,” Watson replied. “And I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed that she was uncomfortable in whatever reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, `We can work in the future. Just let me know.’ And then I sent my apologies as whatever reason she was teary-eyed for.”
Solis did not reply to Watson’s text, according to her lawsuit.
Watson has other pretrial depositions scheduled for June but is not expected to go to trial with any of these lawsuits until after February, according to a deal between the plaintiffs and defense attorneys. He has denied wrongdoing. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
The NFL has been investigating the matter and could suspend him for a violation of its personal conduct policy. It was scheduled to meet with Watson this week.
Watson, 26, was not arrested or charged in these cases. Two grand juries in Texas considered criminal complaints about him but declined to indict him on criminal charges. He recently was traded by the Houston Texans to Cleveland, which gave him a record contract of $230 million guaranteed over five seasons.
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]
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