Report: At least two of the women suing Deshaun Watson have agreed to meet with the NFL

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The game of public-opinion ping pong continues between the lawyers representing the opposing sides of the Deshaun Watson controversy.

On the same day that Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, took an ultra-aggressive position in officially responding to the 22 lawsuits and in making a public statement confirming that, yes, Watson and Harding believe all of the accusers are lying, Buzbee or someone connected to him leaked to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston that at least two of the plaintiffs have agreed to meet with the NFL regarding the allegations.

Per Berman, the meetings will happen via Zoom video conference. The NFL’s top investigator in matters of this nature, Lisa Friel, has made clear her desire to speak to all accusers. The NFL has no ability to force cooperate by non-NFL employees, which continues to be one of the primary flaws of the NFL’s in-house justice system.

With cooperation from the alleged victims, Friel and the league can fully and completely investigate the situation, potentially issuing discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy. Without cooperation from the alleged victims, it becomes much more difficult to prove potential violations of the policy.

That’s why the claims against Watson arguably have more settlement value before the alleged victims talk to the league. If the cases are settled and if the alleged victims agree not to speak to anyone about the relevant facts and circumstances, the league’s ability to fully investigate will be dramatically hampered.

Berman also reports that “additional women” involved in the litigation have agreed to meet with the Houston Police Department. Again, a settlement could short-circuit a criminal investigation. The threat of a criminal investigation and potential prosecution in turn serves as leverage against Watson for a greater settlement.

If it seems odd to think of justice boiled down to haggling over the price of a new car, it shouldn’t. That’s how the legal sausage always gets made. Many factors influence the settlement of civil litigation. These 22 lawsuits have additional significant factors beyond the cost to defend the cases through trial and the estimated risk of an adverse verdict. Any competent lawyer would consider those other factors in attaching a settlement value to the cases.

Currently, the lawyers seems likely are posturing for settlement. Hardin’s attack on the plaintiffs is aimed at making them wobbly when it comes to their demands; Buzbee’s leaks are aimed at making Watson more willing to write significant checks in order to resolve the cases. The next question is whether the time has come for the two sides to begin to try to find an acceptable middle ground.

19 responses to “Report: At least two of the women suing Deshaun Watson have agreed to meet with the NFL

  1. We shall see what we shall see. My guess is that this will be settled, one way or the other, before the season begins!

  2. Yeah…It didn’t occur to me that the plaintiffs could pressure Watson into settling by threatening to talk to the NFL. Because the NFL has no subpoena power, these women don’t have to do anything they ask.
    This leads one to believe that money is the primary goal for the women here because: The most “justice” the NFL will administer is a suspension for Watson. That wouldn’t put money into the pockets of the plaintiffs. it would stand to reason that if Watson wanted to avoid these women giving incriminating information to the NFL, no matter how dubious, he would settle with them and also take the matter out of the civil court.
    In civil matters, if possible, you always want to keep things out of the hands of a jury.
    In the case of the NFL, you certainly don’t want Roger Goodell being the deciding factor in your case, either.

  3. At last the NFL investigative arm is ready to spring into action.
    They will religiously follow their stringent protocols to mete out justice:

    1. Finger to the wind and consult the owners to determine guilt or innocence
    2. Assemble the evidence to prove it
    3. Repeat step one for the punishment

  4. They are hoping that meeting with the NFL will force Watson to settle out of court instead of fighting the charges in court.

  5. How exactly does Watson “believe the girls are lying”. One would think he would know they are or they aren’t.

  6. The nfl shouldn’t have the ability to force anyone not associated with the league to speak to them.
    When exactly does he get suspended.
    This league has suspended others for far less

  7. “The NFL has no ability to force cooperate by non-NFL employees, which continues to be one of the primary flaws of the NFL’s in-house justice system.”

    I don’t see it as a flaw. Being able to interview a non NFL employee if nothing else is a benefit to their in-house investigation. Any additional information can drastically help or derail a case.

  8. NFL has Lisa Friel for just these situations. She’s investigated hundreds of these cases and has a stellar reputation. She will get to the truth and if it’s 22 BS stories she’ll say so. Otherwise, Texans have to be considering cutting their losses rather than marketing Watson as the face of their franchise.

  9. Being put on the exempt list is exactly what Watson’s camp wants. He’ll be paid millions while he doesn’t play football and fights these cases.

    No exempt list and Texans wouldn’t have to pay him while he doesn’t play for them. The team is real ready to have him out of there, but they will not give him away. Eventually he’ll be playing eligible again.

  10. Mack, money is always the goal when someone feels wronged. Even if they go to a criminal trial, they eventually file a civil suit. It hurts to have to give something away by force and it isn’t forgotten. If life altering or just money to get by works as an apology, so be it.

  11. An employer certainly has a right to know who is working for them and exactly what their up to.

  12. two things bother me about this. First there was nothing until he threatened to leave Houston, and second the number women that have come forward. In the end I can’t but think where there’s smoke there’s fire. Really too bad because I’m a Miami Dolphins fan. This mess is so bad the only way I see him getting out of it is with a settlement(s) and literally “moving on”.

  13. >>>Currently, the lawyers seems likely are posturing for settlement.


    What I predict happens is there are no criminal charges, there are numerous civil settlements, Watson gets some kind of suspension, and his guarantees are voided.
    The Texans still have his rights, and his contract pays a lot so either:

    1 – he plays for the Texans, which is probably unlikely

    2 – he gets cut

    3 – he gets traded for much less than he’d have fetched a couple of months ago.

    He will resume his NFL career, but his endorsement money will take a huge hit.

    I do think the Texans leaked this and it certainly hasn’t benefitted them. They should have traded him and received many picks, rather than “getting even” with Watson, and getting nothing for him. The Texans were run poorly under Bill OBrien and don’t seem to be well run now. I hope they play well enough to not get a top pick, so they don’t get the #1 rated QB.

  14. The longer this goes Watson he will become a pariah that few teams (there are the sleazy ones) will be wanting to touch this PR nightmare leaving his earning ability no where near what it is now. His endorsement career is gone as soon as he settles one case, but losing a case or even gets charged and loses those trials it will destroy his NFL career, just look at Vick. The lawyers are playing GOT as his lawyer sucks every last dollar from him before the other lawyers cash in on 30% or more of the settlements. At some point Watsons needs to realize the longer it goes it is only going to get worse, settle now and take the 1 to 4 games suspension, if any maybe the Texans are one of Rogers protected teams like KC.

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