The Houston Texans have reached confidential settlements with the 30 women who have filed lawsuits against the team's former quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior, the plaintiffs' attorney, Tony Buzbee, announced in a statement obtained by NFL.com on Friday.
"Today all of the women who have made, or intended to make, claims against the Houston Texans organization have resolved their claims," Buzbee said. "The terms of the settlements, to include the amounts paid each, are confidential. I will have no further comment on the allegations or the Texans' alleged role, other than to say that there is a marked contrast in the way in which the Texans addressed these allegations, and the way in which Watson's team has done so. As has been previously reported, only one of the thirty women who made allegations against the Texans filed a formal lawsuit. That particular lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice as soon as the appropriate settlement paperwork is complete."
The Texans' ownership group of Janice, Hannah and Cal McNair also issued a public statement on behalf of the franchise following the settlement.
"We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then franchise quarterback in March 2021.
"Although our organization did not have any knowledge of Deshaun Watson's alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of any wrongdoing, but instead a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and misconduct.
"We hope that today's resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans and the Houston community at large. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and doing what we can to ensure respect for all."
A lawsuit was filed in Harris County, Texas last month accusing the Texans of being aware of Watson's alleged conduct during the therapy sessions during his time with the franchise, which claimed "individuals within the Texans organization knew or should have known of Watson's conduct."
The lawsuit also accused the franchise of providing the quarterback with resources to conduct his therapy sessions, which included "rooms set up for him at the Houstonian Hotel, massage tables provided to him for private massage sessions, and an NDA provided to him from the head of Texans' security" during his time with the Texans.
Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March and made his first appearance before a disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association last month, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on June 26th.
ESPN reports the league is expected to base its proposed punishment on a fraction of the women's testimony, as it was unable to speak with several accusers, a source with knowledge confirmed.
Last month, Buzbee announced that 20 of the then-24 civil lawsuits against Watson were settled in a statement shared on June 21.
"The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call, from one brave and strong woman. That woman was Ashley Solis," Buzbee said. "At the time of that call she was just one of the hundreds of calls seeking legal assistance that our firm gets weekly. Even though she was originally turned away by our screening process, my staff insisted that I personally speak with her. I'm glad she persisted. Once we took a second look, and after having contact with Watson's original lawyer who disrespected Ashley and her profession and who arrogantly minimized the conduct of someone he referred to as an 'asset,' I was convinced that our law firm should try to help her. As a result of Ashley's lone but brave voice, soon many women who had allegedly experienced the same conduct were emboldened to step forward. I am incredibly proud to represent them all"
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the announced settlements would have "no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process" regarding Watson.
The former Clemson standout requested a trade from the Texans prior to the allegations surfacing and later being ruled out of every game during the 2021 season for "non-injury reasons/personal matter," though never specifically being suspended or placed on any reserve list.