Texans are sued for enabling Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct

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When the news broke last week that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had reached settlements in 20 of the 24 civil cases pending against him, many wondered whether attorney Tony Buzbee would proceed with his vow to sue the Texans for their alleged role in enabling Watson’s alleged misconduct. An answer has arrived, in the form of the first lawsuit against the Texans arising from the Watson situation.

“Today we filed the first case of what will likely be many against the Houston Texans related to Deshaun Watson’s behavior,” Buzbee said in a press release. “Suffice it to say, the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson’s behavior is incredibly damning. We believe the Texans knew or most certainly should have known of Watson’s conduct. Beyond that, we believe the filing speaks for itself.”

The lawsuit, filed by Toi Garner against Houston NFL Holdings, L.P., contends that Watson requested a massage from her in November 2020 via social media, and that he brought with him a nondisclosure agreement provided by the Texans.

“During the massage session, Watson assaulted and harassed Plaintiff by aggressively exposing his naked body to her, purposely touching her with his penis, and ultimately ejaculating onto her,” the petition alleges.

The petition alleges that Watson consistently refused to have massages performed at the team’s facility, and that he refused to utilize the services of the team’s selected massage therapy provider, Genuine Touch. At page 2, the petition alleges that, in June 2020, the owner of Genuine Touch “complained to the Texans that Watson was seeking out unqualified strangers for massages via Instagram,” and that “Watson was putting himself in danger of contracting Covid, or getting himself sued.”

The petition at page three accuses the Texans of turning a “blind eye” to Watson’s behavior, and that the team actually enabled it by providing the NDA, by providing a room at The Houstonian in which Watson underwent massages, and by giving him a massage table to utilize for these sessions.

“Watson was a Houston Texans’ employee; individuals within the Texans organization knew or should have known of Watson’s conduct,” the petition contends. Surprisingly, the petition contends at page four that multiple employees of Genuine Touch were aware that multiple Genuine Touch therapists had sexual relations with Watson during massage sessions.

The Texans never investigated Watson, per the petition. Instead, the Texans gave him a nondisclosure agreement that would protect him against the random massage therapists he was hiring via social media.

The lawsuit seeks to impose liability on the Texans in various ways. It argues that Watson was acting within the scope of his employment when seeking these massages, making the team directly responsible for his behavior. (That is a very aggressive position, since it’s difficult to envision how or why Watson was doing anything other than acting in his own capacity in seeking these massages.) It also argues that the Texans failed to prevent Watson’s ongoing misconduct, once the team knew or should have known that he was engaged in questionable behavior. Finally, it contends that the Texans and Watson engaged in a civil conspiracy that resulted in Watson’s alleged assaults.

The Texans have issued the following statement regarding today’s development: “We are aware of the lawsuit filed against us today. Since March 2021, we have fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations. We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization.”

At the risk of reading too much into the statement, it’s a far cry from the NFL’s knee-jerk “without merit” response to any and all allegations against it. Given that Watson already has testified that the NDA came from the Texans, the team may realize that it has a problem. The ultimate defense for the team may reside more in legal arguments (for example, it had no legal duty to protect the individuals Watson allegedly mistreated) than in factual ones.

Regardless, the settlement of 20 cases, with four still remaining, should not be regarded as a sign that the legal cases are ending. For the Texans, they’re just getting started. And, for Watson, he still may find himself testifying at multiple trials of the cases not filed against him but against his former team.

46 responses to “Texans are sued for enabling Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct

  1. TB12 has used and still uses his own health staff. I suspect he has his own massage therapist. Why is this any different? Your body, your choice, your risk. The Texans aren’t at fault. This is just a blatant money grab.

  2. When it comes to dysfunctional
    1. Browns
    2. Texans
    3. Commanders
    and it’s a tough league to be in

  3. Looks like Buzbee is totally clueless and has no idea on how to handle this moving forward. He’s looking to blame everyone instead of just accepting minimum fault on Watson’s behalf when there’s so much evidence against him. The way it’s looking Watson may not play football for the foreseeable future in the NFL. Joke of a defense attorney.

  4. The more I hear about Watson, the less likely I see him playing. Absolute definition of a predator and the Texans are culpable.

  5. So as an employer, I can tell my employees where they can and cannot get massages. Good to know.

  6. If true, take those picks away from them that they got from the Browns. Nobody gets them.

  7. After he gets a pay off from the Texans he will sue the NFL. Go read the law suits. In each one in the last paragraph all he talks about is how the NFL allows this to happen.

  8. If the league is smart, they will make sure the Texans pay dearly for this… Strip them of draft picks… It would be fitting to take the remaining ones they got in the Watson trade and just negate them…

    If Watson is getting at least a yearlong suspension which it what it appears will be the case, the penalty for anyone or any team that helped him along should be sufficiently punished as well…

  9. So the Teams are responsible for what their players do off hours? I guess Kraft is lucky he was not indicted for murder along with Aaron Hernandez

  10. I agree, the Texans knew what was going on with Watson and what did they do ?

  11. No way the league goes after the Texans. Especially considering they don’t seem interested in going after Danny and the WFT, Stephen Ross, the Raiders organization, Robert Kraft and the list goes on…

  12. Nonfeasance = not culpable conduct. Misfeasance, another story.

    The Texans had no obligation or responsibility for how Watson spent his own time. Unless they were pimping for him.

    …. but they certainly are another deep pocket for ambitious counsel to mine

  13. So I‘m sure they gonna suspend the Texans minimum for a season right? Oh wait they will not do that. I hope the Browns gonna sue the Texans this would be fun. Maybe the league should start to wait until law has spoken before doing this random clownish suspension. It’s not especially about Watson it’s about the league stupidity and the social media lynch mob.

  14. Isn’t Buzbee doing what lawyers in our system are supposed to do? If you feel wronged, you want someone will go for the most even if he has to settle. Apparently there is enough scum in this proceedings to make DeeShawn settle with 20, then there now might be additional who hear that DeeShawn had another one of them provide a NDA. The more we hear about DeeShawn, the more we wonder when he ever practiced for a game.

  15. When it comes to dysfunctional
    1. Browns
    2. Texans
    3. Commanders
    and it’s a tough league to be in
    —————————–

    I’d put the Commanders above the Texans.

  16. Always someone else’s fault. It’s this attitude that sends people screaming and running for the streets anytime something slightly doesn’t go their way.

  17. I’ve no dog in this fight but Watson is a full grown mature man making his own decisions. Is the organization supposed to assign him a babysitter and say when and if he can get a massage? Monitor every bit of his actions and behavior? Right, as if that would go over real popular in this day and age. Why stop there, why not do after the NFL, go after where he played college ball, go after his parents.. This is ridiculous. Watson alone is accountable for his conduct, anything else is just another money-grab.

  18. Time to strip the picks from the Texans. They knew what was going on and didn’t do anything.

  19. The Texans _took_ responsibility for his conduct when they wrote him an NDA. They can argue that the attorney who created it was acting on his own. Do we know if the NDA has any imprimatur of the team, even just the mention of it?

  20. This is as it should be. Anyone who was involved in enabling Watson’s behavior, as the Texans were, should have consequences. The amount of tentacles that have grown from this situation is unbelievable, and all because ONE guy cannot control himself. There is no end in sight.

  21. Jeez – read that petition. That’ll make your eyes pop…holy smokes!!

    Based on one paragraph in there, I’d wager the NFL itself is Buzbee’s next target. Just my opinion though.

  22. They provided him with an NDA…. Just, wow. And for all of the goofs wondering what the Texans did wrong, that would be it right there.

  23. Private hotels for a massage? Major red flag right there.
    Providing tables & NDA’s is about as complicit as one can get.
    My guess is that the Texans are already engaged in settlement negotiations.

  24. Love this. Especially with former Patriots “team chaplain” Easterby running the Texans while it all happened. What a phony hypocrite.

  25. If Buzbee wasn’t prepared for Watson’s attorneys who clearly schooled him. How is he going to handle billionaires attorneys?

  26. I guess the confidentiality clause in the Watson settlement agreement doesn’t stop the women from continuing to talk about what happened to them in detail in public? Seems odd given how important it was to DeShaun to clear is name. But now it’s being dragged in the mud again in their civil action? Did that trickster Buzbee pull a fast one on him or did he just violate the settlement agreement?

  27. Time to fire and blackball this guy out of NFL employment. Its just too bad the NFLPA enables him. He has cost his employer money and negative reflection.

  28. Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkington, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Dan Fouts,….you get the idea.

  29. coachking says:
    June 27, 2022 at 1:25 pm
    So I‘m sure they gonna suspend the Texans minimum for a season right? Oh wait they will not do that. I hope the Browns gonna sue the Texans this would be fun. Maybe the league should start to wait until law has spoken before doing this random clownish suspension. It’s not especially about Watson it’s about the league stupidity and the social media lynch mob.
    —————————————
    24 Different women accusing him, 24…..

  30. This kinda looks like Watson got grabby with the team hired therapists. The Texans reaction was naturally to be concerned about potential workplace harassment suits.
    At this point instead of try to get Watson right, the Texans chose to instead line him up with ndas, hotel rooms, his own massage table and turn him loose on Instagram.
    I guess they did get a pretty great haul of draft picks…but at first glance this is a terrible look for the Texans front office. As with everything else regarding this whole Watson situation, I’m sure there’s more information that will be exposed…and it just keeps getting uglier

  31. Looks like Buzbee is totally clueless and has no idea on how to handle this moving forward. He’s looking to blame everyone instead of just accepting minimum fault on Watson’s behalf when there’s so much evidence against him. The way it’s looking Watson may not play football for the foreseeable future in the NFL. Joke of a defense attorney.
    ______

    You do know that Buzbee isn’t Watson’s attorney???

  32. The Texans have always turned their noses up at any player who has a hint of off the field character issues, often to their detriment.. Now we’re supposed to believe they were complicit in Watson’s mess? That NDA gives Buzbee an opening to go after some much deeper pockets though.

  33. So the Texans arranged for Watson to get private massages in a hotel and gave him an NDA to use. This while knowing that he was refusing to use the massage provider contracted with the team.

    If this isn’t enabling, then I don’t know what is. All the “Watson did this on his own time” is nonsense. The Texans knew what he was up to.

    And, yes, this does make Jimmy Haslam an even bigger idiot for offering Watson that ridiculous contract.

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