CNBC reported Wednesday that Nike had suspended their endorsement of NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson over allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Nike has suspended its endorsement of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson,” reported CNBC.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in a statement.
ESPN reported Monday that “another lawsuit has been filed against Deshaun Watson, this one alleging the Houston Texans quarterback assaulted a licensed aesthetician ‘by touching her with his penis and exposing himself.’”
“The lawsuit, filed Friday night and made available on the Harris County District Clerk’s website on Monday, said ‘Watson’s behavior is part of a disturbing and escalating pattern.’ It was the 22nd lawsuit filed by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee since March 16,” continued ESPN.
According to ESPN, “The plaintiff alleges Watson ‘grabbed’ her buttocks during a massage while his ‘penis was erect … and completely exposed.’ The lawsuit alleges Watson told the massage therapist she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement before he would pay her for the massage.”
The lawsuit states, “based on publicly available information, in a short time frame … Watson used more than fifty different women for massages” and alleges that “Watson selected all of these women via social media, mostly through Instagram and through SnapChat.”
“However, some of the lawsuits filed by Buzbee reference Watson booking a massage through a spa or through another referral,” ESPN added.
The McNair family, who own the Houston Texans, addressed the allegations in a letter to season ticket holders earlier this week, saying, “We want to assure you that we take these allegations very seriously.”
“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our strong stance against any form of sexual assault,” the letter reads. “Our family and the entire Houston Texans organization are deeply troubled by any form of abuse and we condemn this type of behavior,” the letter continued.
An additional element of this case involves 18 women who “released statements through Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lawyer, saying they have worked with the Texans quarterback and that he ‘never made them feel uncomfortable or demanded anything outside the scope of a professional massage.’ Watson’s attorney said the statements were voluntary and from women who have collectively ‘worked with Deshaun more than 130 times over the past five years.’”
The Houston Police Department also released a statement last week, saying that they were “conducting an investigation” after a report was filed, making no reference to the specific accusations being leveled against Watson.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) April 2, 2021
“As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” the statement read.
“With Watson’s off-the-field troubles, his other backers like Apple’s Beats by Dre brand could soon need to respond,” reported CNBC.
“The brands are in a difficult situation right now,” said Scott Rosner, academic director of the sports management program at Columbia University. “There clearly will be public pressure as there typically is in these types of cases to disassociate themselves formally from the athlete. And some are likely to do that. Others will make a statement expressing concern but reiterating their belief in the legal process.”
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