Tony Buzbee expresses concern regarding NFL’s handling of Deshaun Watson investigation

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If, as it appears, the silence of the past few weeks regarding the Deshaun Watson lawsuits was the result of efforts to settle the pending 22 civil cases, those efforts apparently have ended. At least for now.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women suing Watson, told Mark Berman of FOX26 in Houston that a settlement of the cases “is not happening.”

While that could simply be posturing sparked by whatever issues have emerged to prevent a global resolution, the settlement value partially has been undermined by virtue of the fact that, according to Buzbee, four of his clients already have met with Lisa Friel, the league’s chief investigator regarding matters falling under the umbrella of the Personal Conduct Policy. From Watson’s perspective, a settlement coupled with a broad confidentiality agreement would have prevented the 22 plaintiffs from providing information to Friel, complicating the NFL’s ability to determine whether Watson engaged in any wrongdoing. (Right, wrong, or otherwise, confidentiality is one of the terms that a defendant like Watson secures when making a settlement payment, and it has tangible value in determining the proper amount of the agreement.)

Meanwhile, Buzbee has now turned some of the public pressure he previously applied to Watson to Friel. Via Berman, Buzbee complained that “some of the women did not feel like they were being respected” by the NFL. Those concerns prompted Buzbee to personally attend the most recent session with one of his clients and Friel.

Buzbee added that “probably four more women . . . want to meet with the NFL,” but Buzbee said he’s not certain he’s going to allow that to happen.

He didn’t elaborate on the basis for his belief that his clients were not being respected, pointing out only that “every time these women recount this situation, they have to relive it.” It could be that they were asked questions that made them think the league didn’t believe them. It could be that they were asked questions that made them think the league didn’t regard their accounts as reflecting serious misconduct. Frankly, it could simply be strategic puffery with no real basis in fact.

And it could be that these comments from Buzbee are a public signal to Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, that even though four women have spoken with the NFL, a settlement would stop more from meeting with the league — and that the next wave of meetings (based on Buzbee’s effort to publicly pressure Friel and the league) could result in a more careful effort to extract the kind of information that would result in the league imposing significant discipline on Watson.

Only a handful of Buzbee’s clients claim that Watson engaged in any type of forcible sexual misconduct. It’s unknown whether any of those plaintiffs have spoken to the league.

Bottom line? The settlement talks, which most likely were happening, have reached an impasse. Buzbee’s comments seem to be aimed at trying to break the logjam and, if not, to force the league to take the situation more seriously than, in his clients’ perspective, it previously has.

28 responses to “Tony Buzbee expresses concern regarding NFL’s handling of Deshaun Watson investigation

  1. He’s worried about the golden goose flying away before he can make his money grab.

  2. Sounds like a greedy unethical lawyer grasping at his last straw. Looks like the police and DA have shown no interest in pursuing this case. Maybe the NFL will be smart enough to let it rest also.

  3. Tony’s going to regret picking a fight with the NFL and Lisa Friel.

  4. Sounds to me like Buzbee’s clients weren’t selling their story very well to the third party. If that’s any indication of what might happen at a trial, I’d say this is great news for Watson.

  5. I hope Deshawn gets help when this situation finally plays out. Yes, the NFL could suspend him, he can pay off his accusers, but what about this uncontrollable urge he has that is causing him to behave in this manner? If this man doesn’t get help, the next accusations could be worse.

  6. This whole situation is just plain weird. Any other player and he’d be suspended already. However, the claims against him don’t seem to have much merit. When the story came out, it was everywhere for days and days. And now for the past couple of weeks it’s been completely silent. Its just weird, man.

  7. None of this is any good on any level, and in the end only one guy has himself to blame for this entire sorry affair, and that’s DeShaun Watson. He put himself in this position, and whether or not illegal sexual misconduct took place is irrelevant now, because one thing is clear, and it can’t be disputed, and that is the fact his reputation, and good guy image is shattered. There’s no fixing that regardless of how this ends. How can any team make this guy the face of their organization? How do you sell that to your fan base? He’s tainted forever

  8. Buzzbee needs to just shut up and let the process happen as it’s supposed to. He can’t control the NFL investigation and all he’s trying to do is keep himself in the public eye. I don’t believe he has the best interests of his clients in mind, he’s just hungry for the spotlight.

  9. Is he thinking that he can get the NFL to put some pressure on Hardin (Watson’s lawyer) to up his offer?

  10. beachsidejames says:
    May 13, 2021 at 9:17 am
    Innocent until proven guilty!

    ———————————–

    Imagine that!

  11. beachsidejames says:
    May 13, 2021 at 9:17 am
    Innocent until proven guilty!
    ——————————————————————————————-
    Correct if he this goes to criminal court. Civil court doesn’t work that way, and public opinion has no rules.

  12. Friel has a dubious track record of not being impartial. Sounds to me like the league is trying to shut down a scandal behind closed doors.

    Accusations like this are rare enough from an individual. From 22, unheard of. There’s clearly something there.

  13. If they have criminal charges then charge him. Out of 22 massage parlor attendants not one filed a police report the day of any the so-called assaults occurred. Months later surprise here is Tony Buzbee. Gee wiz I wonder if there would be anything in it for him? Where is any physical evidence of an assault? Oh, that’s right there is is none.

  14. If Watson truly feels he’s innocent of the charges, then he certainly won’t be settling with the women who went to talk to the NFL.
    Those women have blown any chance of a settlement. They’re going to have to rely strictly on a court verdict to extract any money from Watson.
    I really don’t know what they expect from the NFL, or why they’re talking to them. The league can only suspend Watson. That won’t put any money in the plaintiffs pockets. Perhaps that’s why Buzbee is upset.

  15. erickgreynolds says:
    May 13, 2021 at 7:28 am
    Tony’s going to regret picking a fight with the NFL and Lisa Friel.

    __________________

    Are you kidding? The NFL answers every public relations problem with a boatload of cash.

  16. “Only a handful of Buzbee’s clients claim that Watson engaged in any type of forcible sexual misconduct.”

    Only a handful…isn’t 1 too many?

  17. At what point does Watson potentially have a defamation suit against Buzbee?

  18. Sounds like these women were asked questions that pointed out inconsistencies and they didn’t like it.

  19. If buzbee wants any money he should write a book.

    Then get sued for defamation and give every penny to Watson.

  20. Tony Buzbee expresses concern that he hasn’t seen Tony Buzbee’s name in the headlines for over 24 hours.

  21. Must not be high enough blackmail to make Buzzbee and his 40% of the take rich enough.

    Man is a shyster whether or not Watson is guilty.

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