Deshaun Watson will not face criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct by 22 Houston-area massage therapists, but the court of public opinion might be a different matter.
Two of Watson’s accusers, Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes, spoke with Soledad O’Brien for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” for an episode that aired Tuesday night.
“As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand,” Solis said.
“And I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. And I told him that I’m done. I don’t wanna do this anymore.”
Hayes also detailed her alleged experience with Watson.
“He wanted me to kinda make a V motion in his pelvic area. So go across his stomach to his thighs, back to his stomach,” Hayes told O’Brien. “I just kept massaging and did what he asked until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it. He was moving his penis back and forth as my hands moved as well.”
Hayes affirmed that this was “intentional” on Watson’s part, and said, “At some point, he did ejaculate. That was mortifying and embarrassing and disgusting.”
Solis said that the quarterback made what “sounded like a threat” to her after the massage concluded.
“He just said, ‘I know you have a career to protect.’ And ‘I know you don’t want anyone messing with it just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.’ To me, that’s when I got really scared,” Solis said.
Watson was traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns this offseason, and immediately signed a fully guaranteed contract worth $230 million.
“It’s just like a big screw you,” Solis said of the contract. “That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what we care about.”
“It was sick to me,” she said. “I felt like he’s being rewarded for bad behavior.”
In March, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas decided not to file criminal charges against him pertaining to the allegations from Solis, Hayes and 20 others. He still has civil litigation pending, and faces potential discipline under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Watson has denied misconduct relating to the massages and maintained that any sexual activity was consensual. He reiterated those denials to HBO when presented with the specific accusations from Solis and Hayes.
One of his attorneys, Leah Graham, spoke to “Real Sports” for the segment. She was asked why people should believe one man — Watson — compared to 22 women.
“It’s 22 women. It’s one lawyer,” Graham said, referring to plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee. “There’s only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case.
“Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”
Graham was asked to explain the sexual activity in the massages.
“Well, in every massage, I will tell you he did go, intending just for a professional massage, and only those three instances where sexual conduct occurred — consensual sexual activity — it occurred after the massage session had ended,” Graham said. “And Mr. Watson has testified and is insistent that that sexual activity was initiated by the plaintiff in every single instance.”
Pressed on Watson saying that he has no regrets about the incidents, Graham maintained this was still the case.
“As he testified in his depositions last week, yes, he has no regrets because he did nothing wrong,” she said.
“He did nothing wrong in these massages. And although — to your first question, ‘How can he be innocent?’ I think the real question is, ‘What evidence is there of any guilt?’ ”