Two of Deshaun Watson’s accusers had a similar reaction when they learned of his record-breaking $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.
“It’s like a big screw,” Ashley Solis said on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel airing Tuesday night. “That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what matters to us.
Another accuser, Kyla Hayes, said: “It was sick for me.”
“Why?” asked HBO correspondent Soledad O’Brien
“I felt like he was being rewarded for his bad behavior,” Hayes replied.
Solis and Hayes are among 22 women suing Watson and accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions from early 2020 to March 2021.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and was recently traded from the Houston Texans to the Browns, earning him a record five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract.
Solis last year spoke publicly about meeting Watson at her home in the Houston area in March 2020. But the airing of this new interview comes shortly after Watson testified in a pretrial deposition on May 13 about his meeting with her in detail. Watson admits he apologized to her in a text after they met in March 2020, according to the transcript of the deposition obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
He also appears to take issue with whether she was crying at the end of the massage, but admits that her eyes were “crying” and she had “tears in her eyes.” The dictionary defines “to weep” as throwing or produce tears.
In the HBO segment, one of Watson’s attorneys, Leah Graham, spoke about three consensual encounters Watson had with massage professionals. Watson’s lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, previously said the women lied, chased after money and “sometimes had consensual encounters.”
“Deshaun Watson insisted that in these massages he was looking for nothing but professional services, but we know he had sex with three women, right?” O’Brien asked Graham. “Oral sex with two, vaginal sex with another. So how do you explain that you unwittingly end up having sex with people who give you professional massages? »
“Well, in every massage, I will tell you that he went there, for the sole purpose of a professional massage, and only the three instances where sexual behavior occurred – consensual sexual activity – occurred after the massage session ended,” Graham replied, according to the excerpts. “And Mr. Watson testified and insists that this sexual activity was initiated by the plaintiff in each instance.”
Solis alleged that Watson exposed himself to her and had his hand touched by his penis near the end of her encounter with him. His lawsuit said it scared him and cried.
At the end of the meeting, she told HBO that Watson told her, “I know you have a career to protect” and “I know you don’t want anyone involved, just like I don’t want anyone meddling with mine. “
“For me, that’s where I got really scared,” she said in the interview. Solis was also present during Watson’s May 13 deposition in Houston.
Watson said in that deposition that he didn’t say that and didn’t know why she had tears in her eyes.
He admitted in the deposition that he texted her after they met: “Sorry you feel uncomfortable. Never the intentions. Let me know if you want to work in the future. My excuses.”
“Why did you send this?” asked Solis’ lawyer, Maria Holmes.
“Because I — that wasn’t my intention,” he said, according to the transcript. “I never meant to make her uncomfortable, like she said – I guess she was uncomfortable.”
Solis left the room near the end of the encounter.
“So after, when she came in, she was, I guess, watering,” Watson said on May 13. ” I do not know. I don’t know what his mood was. But, like I said, it was watery eyes. It wasn’t bullets or crying like that or anything. And I was confused. We were talking about it, what was going on. She didn’t really want to explain herself. I am confused in what is going on. And then she was like, ‘Hey, I don’t want your money.’ “
Two grand juries in Texas considered criminal complaints filed about Watson’s conduct in massage encounters but refused to indict him on criminal charges. Solis testified in a proceeding and O’Brien questioned why the grand jury ruled the way he did.
“I have absolutely no idea,” Solis said on HBO. “I don’t see how any of these human beings could have sat in front of me and thought what they did was OK.”
Watson’s legal team questioned the credibility of the women and pointed out that some of the plaintiffs were in contact with him after they were allegedly assaulted by Watson, raising the question of why. Hayes explained this to O’Brien.
“I wasn’t sure what he was capable of,” she said. “He could have physically assaulted me. He could have denigrated my business. So I had to protect myself and my business in the best way that was right for me. Did I see him again after that? No.”
The women’s lawyer, Tony Buzbee, was also asked if any of his clients might have an ulterior motive with his lawsuits.
“I hope not,” he said. “I don’t think so. We’ve looked into every single one of them, but if I ever had to come to that conclusion, this case would go no further.”
The civil lawsuits could drag on into next year. No trial date has been set.
Watson’s conduct has also been investigated by the NFL, which may suspend him under the league’s personal conduct policy. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he believes the league’s investigation is nearing completion.
“I can’t give you a timetable [for resolution] because I think this process will move forward,” Goodell said at the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta. “I think we are approaching the end of the investigation period, and then at some point it will be handled by our disciplinary officer. And that will hopefully happen shortly. And then we will see from where it will come out.
Contributor: Nate Ulrich
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deshaun Watson: Accusers’ new details in HBO interview, transcript