A Deshaun Watson settlement remains possible

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
Getty Images

Last week, the lawyers handling the Deshaun Watson litigation ended up in a public back and forth regarding, among other things, which one of them made the first move toward attempting to settle the cases. And while both sides have taken the position that a settlement isn’t happening, it still could.

The fact that the talks broke down over the question of whether the settlements will be confidential (in contrast to the usual procedure, in this situation the plaintiffs want confidentiality and the defendant does not) implies that the two sides had reached an agreement on more important terms, like the amount that Watson would pay to each of the 22 plaintiffs. Indeed, there’s no reason to haggle over confidentiality unless and until it seems that the two sides will be on the same page as to the settlement amount.

So if, as it appears, the two sides have agreed on a major term like settlement amount, it could just be a matter of time before one side or the other bends on the question of what will or won’t be regarded as confidential.

Watson wants full and complete transparency. He wants the amounts known and, more importantly, he wants the 22 women to have the full and complete ability to talk to the NFL about anything and everything they allegedly experienced when interacting with him. Watson wants no one to be muzzled.

The ongoing criminal investigation complicates any civil settlement. With full transparency, a grand jury (if one ever is empaneled) would know that the claims were settled, and the grand jury would know the amount of the payments. It’s unclear whether that would make a grand jury more or less likely to indict Watson. There’s a chance that one or more grand jurors would conclude that Watson’s payment of any amount of money constitutes a recognition of guilt.

It’s still not clear what he’d be guilty of, under the applicable criminal laws. Only two of the plaintiffs contend that Watson engaged in forcible sexual misconduct. If the cases are resolved, don’t be surprised if those individuals amend their complaints to rescind those allegations.

Given the high bar for criminal convictions, it’s highly unlikely that Watson would be found guilty of anything. Until the investigation is closed, however, there’s no way to know for sure that Watson is in the clear.

That dynamic notwithstanding, it seems that the 22 cases would be settled or close to it, if attorney Tony Buzbee had agreed to full transparency on behalf of his clients. If Buzbee changes his tune (possibly at the behest of one or more of his clients, who may simply want to cash out and move on), a settlement could still happen.

In theory, it could happen at any time.

18 responses to “A Deshaun Watson settlement remains possible

  1. Possible? Right it’s possible. It’s so hard not to laugh when these guys in the beginning of these things tell you with a straight face that it’s not about money.

  2. if he wants to continue his career it had better be a settlement is absolutely imperative!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. Even if there is, at this point he’s not getting the public back. This was ugly, public, and I’m not sure corporate sponsors, advertising, relationships with organizations in the community are going to embrace any team with him at the front. NFL QB is often one of the most visible people in a region if not whole state. Before anyone types it of course the football side of things will ALWAYS embrace talent despite its misdeeds. But NFL is big business getting bigger, and they want to own North American Sport Scene just like they have since baseball ceded the crown decades ago to them. He’ll be bad for business, particularly in a major media market. In my opinion

  4. In this case there are two dominant Attorneys. However the client can and often does assert their individual will! So Deshaun Watson can tell Hardin I’m Ok with not disclosing information from the settlement. I understand Rusty wants to send a message with disclosure but in the interest of settling as soon as possible it might be better for Watson with a police and league investigation present.

  5. Pretty bizarre that during covid Watson had close contact and possible exposure from so many people, thus putting his teammates, coaches and staff at risk. Surprised the league hasn’t already fined him for doing so.

  6. This guy really need somebody to tell him to just keep his mouth shut. He’s getting nothing from flapping his gums so much.

  7. No chance he gets to settle with ALL these women. Zero chance, he doesn’t have enough money 22 cases so far, might have more who knows??

  8. The best business decision is to settle — if nothing else you buy certainty. The clients are the ones that dictate confidentiality, not the attorneys. And why wouldn’t they seek confidentiality given the subject matter and the fact that if the amounts are known they are exposed to the same scammers that hit up lottery winners.

  9. No matter what, the NFL is foolish for not adding him to the exempt list. At the very least he broke Covid protocols. c Dwayne Haskins.

  10. The side that asks for transparency is going to score big in the court of public opinion.

  11. The question, if the cases are settled and accusations rescinded, no admission of any wrongdoing, what will the league do, and will Watson be traded, and if so, to which team?

  12. He’s going to end up in Miami and Tua will be moved to a Taysom Hill type role. The Dolphins will end up winning multiple Super Bowls.

  13. 22 women

    there will be no mass settlement

    florio acts like this is one or two women

  14. The women do not want to settle nor should they have to. Watson needs to be accountable for his actions. He knew right from wrong.

  15. Please settle and go to Philly and give us Jalen, that would be great for Houston!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.