The latest big development in the ongoing Deshaun Watson controversy came from lawyer Tony Buzbee, who said on Wednesday that he’ll be adding the Houston Texans as a defendant to the civil lawsuits pending against Watson.
Neither the league nor the team had a comment in response to Buzbee’s statement.
From the team’s perspective, it’s premature to comment unless and until they are indeed added to the lawsuits. Once that happens, the Texans surely will have something to say.
They’ll also have plenty to say within the confines of the legal system. And that’s where things can get very interesting, very quickly. With Watson no longer employed by the Texans, the team will have no real reason to collaborate with him in order to present a united front against the charges.
Instead, the Texans quite possibly will take the position that they have no legal duty to any of the plaintiffs to investigate or act to prevent Deshaun Watson from engaging in deliberate and intentional sexual misconduct. Thus, it will potentially help the Texans to focus on the allegations against Watson and to argue that, if he did those things, he’s the only one who should be held responsible, not them.
On the other hand, if the Texans help Watson successfully argue that he did nothing wrong, they prevail — because their liability flows only from a finding that he violated the rights of one of more of the plaintiffs.
The strongest argument against the Texans apparently will be that, once their director of security became aware that someone was threatening to “expose” Deshaun Watson based on conduct occurring at a massage, the director of security should not have given Watson a nondisclosure agreement to use during future encounters. Instead, the director of security should have immediately ascertained the nature and the extent of these encounters, and he should have urged Watson to immediately end this practice/habit.
For the Texans, the situation officially hasn’t started. But it apparently will be, soon. Once it does, we’ll begin to learn more about the team’s strategy for defending itself. And the biggest question will be whether it tries to support Watson’s denial — or whether it focuses on pointing at finger at Watson and saying he’s the one to blame, not the team.