NFL responds to Tony Buzbee’s concerns regarding the Deshaun Watson investigation

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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.

13 responses to “NFL responds to Tony Buzbee’s concerns regarding the Deshaun Watson investigation

  1. Ever since the NFL decided to get into every aspect of players lives with the personal conduct policy, they’ve strayed from their lane and have continually looked like buffoons.

    I wish the NFL would get out of the investigations and punishment business. Let the police and courts do their job.

  2. This is Buzbee providing advance excuses in case the investigation doesn’t go his way. Typical posturing and doesn’t mean anything. The League’s investigation will go on just the way it has been, so will the PD’s, and nothing will change in the litigation.

  3. Still waiting for the Washington Football Team investigation to be complete. NFL investigations are a joke.

  4. Complaining simply means things are not going as one wants. It doesn’t mean anything is being carried out wrong or not. It just means the process is not going well for his clients.

  5. The plaintiffs get nothing from talking to the NFL. I don’t know why they’re wasting their time. All the NFL is going to do is suspend Watson. The women won’t get any money from that. And we know they want money because they’ve filed civil lawsuits.

  6. What the heck is the NFL supposed to do that they are not already doing? They’re investigating the allegations. Does the attorney, a supposed guardian of legal due process, want the NFL to declare Watson guilty already? The NFL has many faults, but its response to this incident (or incidents) so far is not one of them.

  7. The investigation of Ellott was terrible. Their own investigator said the “victim” was questionable at best, they sat on it for a year, and basically destroyed Dallas’ offense for those suspended games.

  8. Even if these women are right, choosing Buzbee was the wrong decision. Dude is a walking, talking dumpster fire

  9. Buzbee has done a lot of posturing, but whichever side you view this from, fairness is a valid question with the NFL investigation. It would be best for the NFL if all of this went away, and to not have the stain of a superstar with this many assault accusations. If they think this can be forgotten about like other NFL assault cases, then that may be their agenda going into this. They haven’t really proven their “independent” investigations to be fair and unbiased before. The NFL would love to have Watson playing and move on from this. If they can’t do that then they probably would want to do a stiff suspension like with Kareem Hunt, to prove how tough they are against it when there’s hard enough evidence, but there isn’t any video to these accusations. They may view this as undecided enough to push for watson’s innocence. If the women legitimately feel like their experiences are being dismissed and not viewed seriously enough, then that’s a concern.

  10. The NFL is an association that contains 32 multi-billion dollar private businesses. It certainly sounds like they employ of of the best in the business at getting to the bottom of this sort of accusation. I’m not sure how much experience Buzbee has in this sort of thing, but it sounds like Lisa Friel might be very experienced. It’s in the NFL’s best interest to get to the truth. There’s nothing wrong with the truth. If you deal with the truth, there shouldn’t be any settlements. Someone is right, and someone is wrong. The truth should be all that matters to anyone, although I realize that’s wishful thinking.

  11. We probably all agree that the NFL will hire the top people regarding their investigating staff, because this is all part of protecting their brand and their game.

    However what they do with the actual collected data is what I would question. I don’t believe the NFL always cares about the truth.

    I think the NFL strictly cares about the NFL.

  12. The thing that bothers me about some of the reaction to the Watson situation is that there is a theme of downplaying the accusations because a civil suit is involved. From that stand point it is easy to say that all the women want is money, but that’s not entirely fair. It’s easy to say they could have just said ‘No’ and walked out, but when someone uses their celebrity and prestige as leverage it is hard to say no and it’s completely inappropriate to put someone in a situation where they would be faced with a decision like that. “Do I say no and risk never having high paying clients again? Or, do I do what is being asked with the idea that I won’t lose my job or connections?”

    Something that may not have seemed traumatic in the moment can feel a lot different at the end of the day. I don’t know if all of these women are telling the truth, but that does not negate the ones that are. And because of that I’m inclined to believe all of them.

    If even just one of these women is telling the truth it makes Watson a predator. No one should be taken advantage of like this. This is a stain on the NFL and they should investigate. I only hope that the results of their investigation aren’t decided based on the lost revenue of a suspended ‘star’ and instead for the betterment of the league regardless of how much money is lost.

  13. The NFL is NOT a court of law. Their investigations have proven to be subjective, arbitrary and highly imperfect. This is like Buzzbee publicly complaining about a performance evaluation one of his clients got at work. It’s none of his business and he has no involvement in the process.

    This guy is just a bullhorn looking for attention.

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