The NFL reportedly has not had access to many of the 22 women who have sued Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, to any third parties who may have relevant information, or to the evidence gathered by the Houston Police Department.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents 22 women suing Watson, doesn’t buy it.
“To suggest the NFL hasn’t got enough information or has not been provided access, that’s just demonstrably false,” Buzbee told Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston. “I think if you ask the NFL directly they would have to admit that.”
Buzbee addressed the notion that the NFL doesn’t have enough information, acknowledging that in some respects there may be deficiencies but insisting that when it comes to the persons making complaints against Watson, the NFL has what it needs.
“I don’t control the corroborating witnesses,” he said. “Maybe they reached out to witnesses who do not want to cooperate. I don’t know. Obviously, the NFL has no subpoena power and everybody’s doing this voluntarily. I don’t know who the sources are or what they’re saying, but I do know my staff has spent many, many, many hours voluntarily, because the NFL asked us to, and these women have went out of their way to provide information. . . . My question would be how many times do you need to hear the same thing over and over until you draw a conclusion? That’s my problem with this whole thing and I don’t [care] if Deshaun Watson plays or not. That’s not my issue. That has nothing to do with this case. . . .
“It seems like most people are spending their time guessing whether Watson will play and with whom he will play and ignore the big elephant in the room, which is what about the 22, 25, 26, whatever the number is women, who had contact with him who are making some incredibly serious allegations?”
Buzbee’s remarks underscore the fact that these allegations aren’t going away, and that civil litigation could soon be supplemented with criminal prosecution. As explained earlier today, the NFL can put Watson on paid leave at any time.
Regardless of what the league does or doesn’t know, it hasn’t yet felt compelled to use paid leave as a tool for tucking Watson out of public view. Maybe it eventually will. Buzbee’s point is that he believes the league knows enough to make some decisions about Watson’s status.