With seven assault lawsuits filed against him, five more on the way, and at least 10 more under consideration, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces a major legal problem. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, says that a response from Watson will be provided next week.
“I’m extremely proud to represent Deshaun Watson and wholly stand behind him against what we believe are meritless allegations,” Hardin said, via Mark Berman of FOX 26. “However, we will wait to comment in detail until we’ve completed our review of the numerous, evolving allegations from Mr. Buzbee. We will respond next week and ask you to keep an open mind until we do so.”
Although a court of law affords multiple protections and presumptions for Watson, the court of public opinion is not required to be as accommodating. With the number of accusers at 22 and counting, it becomes very difficult for each and every allegation to be explained away. At some point, the sheer volume of allegations will cause the average person to conclude that Watson has utilized the inherently intimate context of a massage as a way to engage in predatory behavior while preserving plausible deniability.
The deniability is becoming less plausible by the news cycle. Long before verdicts are issued in civil cases, the court of public opinion will pass judgment. For many, it already has occurred.