Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who represents 22 women suing Deshaun Watson for misconduct during massage therapy sessions, expressed concern on Wednesday regarding the NFL’s investigation into the Texans quarterback’s alleged behavior. The NFL responded on Thursday.
“The allegations are very concerning and the league immediately began investigating the matter under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to PFT. “The investigation includes gathering information, monitoring law enforcement developments and conducting interviews with relevant people willing to participate with counsel present.”
The investigation is being handled by Lisa Friel.
“Throughout her decades-long career as the chief of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and most recently as the NFL’s special counsel for investigations for the last six years, Lisa has earned a stellar reputation as a consummate professional who conducts investigations and interviews with compassion and fairness in an effort to determine the truth,” McCarthy added.
Four of Buzbee’s clients have met with Friel. Buzbee told Mark Berman of FOX26 in Houston that “some of the women did not feel like they were being respected” during the interviews.
Buzbee didn’t elaborate on the reasons for these alleged feelings, beyond explaining that “every time these women recount this situation, they have to relive it.” As explained on PFT Live, the clients will relive the situation on multiple occasions during the litigation, and the process won’t be pleasant — especially during their pre-trial depositions. With Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin explaining that Watson and Hardin believe that the accusers aren’t telling the truth, Hardin and his associates will aggressively pursue that theory when questioning the plaintiffs.
Other theories aggressively will be pursued, including the emotional harm allegedly suffered during the interactions with Watson and, because the plaintiffs have placed their emotional condition in issue, any and all other emotional traumas they may have suffered in recent years — if not throughout their entire lives.
These are serious allegations, and they will be tested before being accepted as accurate and truthful. Friel will test them to a certain extent. Hardin will test them a lot more strongly. That’s just the reality of the processes that, through Buzbee, these plaintiffs have initiated.