Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson last met with reporters on his first day in the building. This week, during the team’s mandatory minicamp, Watson conducted another press conference.
He took questions or roughly 10 minutes. Among other things, he was asked whether he’s open to settling the 24 cases pending against him.
“I just want to clear my name,” Watson said, explaining that he wants to let the facts come out in a court of law. This means that, for now, he intends to keep fighting these cases. All of them. The 24 already filed. The two more to come. And any others that may eventually be filed.
The process will take time. None of the cases will go to trial until after March 1, 2023. And, without settlements, 26 trials will take a lot of time. The cases likely will linger into 2024. Depending on the final number of cases filed, the trials might not end until 2025.
Watson also was asked about the contention (not a report, but a contention) from one of the lawsuits that he offered $100,000 to each of the plaintiffs last year.
“There was a process that was going on back in November with another organization,” Watson said, without specifically addressing whether settlement offers were made to resolve the cases so that he could be traded to Miami. However, his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, already has said publicly that the Dolphins wanted the cases to be resolved before a trade would happen, and that an effort was made to do so.
Watson was asked whether he stands by his statement from March that he has “no regrets” about what happened.
“I think that question kind of triggered a lot of people,” Watson said, explaining that he was saying he never assaulted, disrespected, or harassed anyone. He acknowledged that he does regret the impact of the existence of the various cases has had on “many” people.
And what of the report from the New York Times that Watson received massages from at least 66 women in a 17-month period? Is that number accurate?
“I don’t think so,” Watson said, before deferring to his lawyers.
And now the waiting game continues. What will the NFL do? When will the NFL do it? It all remains to be seen.