The NFL has thoroughly investigated former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. It’s unknown whether the NFL has, or ever will, investigate the Texans for their alleged role in the situation.
The Texans have settled one lawsuit and 29 potential claims arising from the claims against Watson. The settlements flow directly from the argument that the Texans knew or should have known what Watson was doing and failed to put an end to it. The lawsuit filed against the Texans also accused the team of actively facilitating his alleged habit of arranging massages that he’d try to make into sexual encounters.
Watson has testified that, once the team’s director of security became aware of the situation, he gave Watson a nondisclosure agreement to use. What did the director of security specifically know that Watson was doing? Did he fail to alert the league to the possibility that the Personal Conduct Policy had been violated? Did his own acts or omissions constitute a separate violation?
Neither the league nor the team responded to specific questions regarding whether the league is investigating the situation. It’s much easier, obviously, to brush the situation under the rug if it’s never investigated. It’s much easier to move on. To ignore it. To hope that others will ignore it.
The mere fact that the Texans agreed to pay 30 people suggests that there’s a reason to wonder whether the Texans did something they shouldn’t have done. or fail to act when they should have. And it’s critical that the settlement agreements allow the 30 women to cooperate with the NFL in any investigation.
Of course, that doesn’t matter if the NFL won’t be investigating. For now, the NFL simply won’t say whether it is.