Friday did not have a satisfactory conclusion for lawyer Rusty Hardin.
After his comment during a radio interview regarding “happy endings” during massage sessions not being illegal went viral in a bad way, the attorney representing Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson tried to fix things with a statement issued late in the afternoon.
“Deshaun Watson did nothing wrong,” Hardin said. “And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing illegal. Deshaun has always acknowledged consensual sexual activity with three of the plaintiff massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn under oath that he did not force any of his accusers to have sexual contact.
“On a Houston radio show interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a ‘happy ending’ is not illegal, meaning it is not illegal for someone to have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage unless the sex is for pay. Deshaun did not pay anyone for sex. I was using the term hypothetically and not describing Deshaun’s case.
“I have reiterated to others it’s not OK to do anything that a woman does not agree to do. These women have alleged assault in their pleadings. I was speaking in a hypothetical situation. If there is a consensual sexual encounter after a massage, that is not a crime nor the basis for a civil lawsuit. I was not talking about what Deshaun did or did not do or expected or did not expect.”
The comment from Hardin nevertheless bolsters the argument that Watson wanted or expected “happy endings,” and that Watson was actively seeking them out. In trying to make a massage turn sexual, Watson potentially offended and/or touched in an unwelcome or unwanted way one or more of the massage therapists with one or more areas of his body.
That’s what the 23 plaintiffs are alleging, that Watson went too far in trying to make the massages a sexual encounter. The mindset bluntly expressed by Hardin’s original comment and more subtly residing in his effort to clean up the mess his remarks made could ultimately bolster the 23 cases pending against Watson. If Watson and Hardin see nothing wrong with a massage becoming sexual and they see nothing wrong with an effort to make a massage become sexual, they fail to comprehend the foundation of the complaints against Watson — that he allegedly crossed the line in trying to get the massages to cross the line.