“We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night,” the team said, via James Palmer of NFL Media. “This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon. We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone with the Houston Texans organization seriously. We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident.”
Some will scrutinize these words carefully, given the current acrimony between the Texans and Watson. The lawyer involved — Tony Buzbee — once purchased a billboard urging “my neighbor Mr. McNair” to draft Johnny Manziel. The contention that “[t]his is the first time we heard of the matter” could be aimed at shooting down any speculation that Buzbee told the Texans about the situation, or that there was any other type of coordination between lawyer and team.
On one hand, it would make no sense for the Texans to “want” this to happen. The situation serves only to potentially diminish his trade value, or at a minimum to complicate the due diligence in which a suitor may have to engage before making the trade. On the other hand, if the Texans realize that Watson is serious about never playing for the team again (and the decision to sign Tyrod Taylor would seem to suggest that they realize that Watson won’t show up if they don’t trade him), would it fall beyond the realm of plausibility to think the Texans would not be upset about Watson taking a shot to his image?
Then there’s the possibility (and this is pure speculation) that the Texans welcome the notion that this will indeed pull the plug on trade possibilities and in turn give the franchise a chance to throw support and praise in Watson’s direction, potentially causing him to change his mind about wanting out. If, however, that’s the play, the team’s initial statement on the matter shows that plenty of work needs to be done to achieve that specific objective.