Rusty Hardin: NFL has yet to interview Deshaun Watson

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
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More than three months ago, the off-field controversy involving Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson first emerged. In less than half that time, the Texans will report for training camp. Before then, the NFL will have to decide whether to place Watson on paid leave, given the 22 lawsuits pending against him, alleging misconduct during massage sessions.

Attorney Rusty Hardin tells KPRC-TV in Houston that the NFL has not yet interviewed Watson regarding the allegations.

Typically, the accused in a situation like this is interviewed last. Given that the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy contemplates a preliminary process aimed at determining whether the player will land on the Commissioner Exempt list, it seems prudent to hear from Watson before deciding whether to do that.

It’s a delicate situation for the league, to be sure. After the Ray Rice debacle (along with the Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson situations), the league introduced the concept of paid leave as a way to remove from the public eye players against whom serious accusations have been made. The fact that the player is still paid makes the league believe it’s not punishment — a horribly misguided and unrealistic take. Of course it’s punishment; football players want to play football, and paid leave prevents them from playing football. And of course it’s driven by P.R. concerns, not by considerations of justice or fairness or due process.

As previously explained, the league has broad discretion to decide whether to place a player on paid leave. In other words, the league can do whatever it wants. Whatever it does, the league needs to make a decision and let everyone involved in the situation know about it before camp opens, so that everyone involved can make informed decisions about Watson’s future.

The situation would be much easier for the league if the 22 cases were settled. Although settlement talks happened at one point, Hardin confirmed to KPRC that they’re not happening now. Recently, attorney Tony Buzbee said that a settlement won’t be happening, at least not any time soon.

Settlement talks could resume at any time. Again, the fact that they previously broke down over the issue of confidentiality strongly suggests that the two sides made significant progress if not reached an agreement regarding the amount of the settlement. If so, it’s just a matter of one side or the other bending on the issue of confidentiality.

19 responses to “Rusty Hardin: NFL has yet to interview Deshaun Watson

  1. Paid leave is not punishment for most players. Most players don’t care if they play football or not, they just want to make their big money!

  2. Paid leave IS punishment. Players don’t get better while sitting. Players can’t show their talents to other teams if they are sitting.

  3. Agree. Settlement amounts have probably been established. The sticking point is confidentiality, Watson’s accusers want to keep their names private — can’t say I blame them — and Watson wants public disclosure. Given that the sooner this is done, the sooner Watson can serve his punishment and return to the field, in Houston or elsewhere, he should back off and respect his accusers’ with for privacy.

  4. There have been no criminal charges brought either or even interviews by police suggesting Watson is a suspect of a crime. As it stands right now all we have is a lawyer waving his finger at a high profile NFL QB.

  5. I mean hey if iam Watson put me on the list don’t wanna play for the Texans anyway

  6. Well, not all football players want to play football. Randy Moss publicly stated that he only played football when he felt like it.

  7. If I were totally innocent of a crime I would scream from the roof tops to prove my point. His silence says it all.

  8. If any of you think paid leave is punishment, then you’ve never been around NFL players in a personal environment. They wouldn’t be playing football for minimum wage. Money always comes first, always.

  9. This is a serious issue, with serious consequences and repercussions. And yet I must confess I’m so burned out on seeing either the word Buzzbee, or Hardin at this point I just want to throw up. They talk, and talk, reference their CVs and how many employees they have, their records and yet the case lingers. They squawk about confidentiality while telling us almost every detail of everything. It’s exhausting reading about this case it’s like a car spewing smoke and backfires and a whining belt, and yet it goes nowhere. Wake me when they say something new please.

  10. The NFL gets all the information they need, and they do it quickly. They had the sexual assault experts interview some of the women involved, and apparently that didn’t go over well for the people accusing Watson. I believe the NFL doesn’t think Watson did anything illegal, and that this whole case was manufactured as a money grab. Also, the layer representing the women is a neighbor of the Texans owner, and I have no doubt the NFL had their business people come up with the amount of money the Texans would save if they could somehow get out of their contract with Watson. I really think they have all the information they need without interviewing Watson. I’m sure they interviewed plenty of other men that patronize these same massage parlors. The NFL has the best investigators. They have ways of getting to the truth.

  11. mhouser1922 says:
    June 20, 2021 at 11:45 am
    Agree. Settlement amounts have probably been established. The sticking point is confidentiality, Watson’s accusers want to keep their names private — can’t say I blame them — and Watson wants public disclosure. Given that the sooner this is done, the sooner Watson can serve his punishment and return to the field, in Houston or elsewhere, he should back off and respect his accusers’ with for privacy.

    ======================

    That’s crazy for 2 reasons :

    1. It’s usually the defendant (Watson) who wants privacy because what are you paying for in a settlement if not for privacy (details not being made public).

    2. No one has said the claimants want the non-disclosure, just Buzbee wants the disclosure.

    Put that together and, most likely as i do not know the details same as anyone else, Buzbee tried a money grab that failed despite his claiming not to be trying it in the press.

  12. There’s no logical reason why “paid leave” isn’t at the league minimum. I’m sure that even a baller like Watson can make his mansion & escalade payments until the case is resolved.

  13. Consistent as ever, that NFL. If there was money in it for them, they’d have interviewed him within 24 hours of first catching wind of any shenanigans.

  14. Whew ! Denver rumor was Denver was considering to make a deal before news came out about the lawsuits. Glad they didn’t make a deal considering all the drama. Watson kept making complaints / demands on Houston so he’s a Kaepernick with talent.

  15. It’s only natural to ignore things you don’t want to know about. The NFL has been praying this magically goes away since the first time they heard about it.

  16. NFL will more than likely do nothing this year. They will let him play and then after the season once he’s deposed then they will watch how the trial goes and make their determination then.

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