HOUSTON — Attorney Rusty Hardin has filed an answer to the 22 lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson that says the Houston Texans quarterback’s legal team has “already uncovered evidence that numerous allegations in this onslaught of cases are simply not true or accurate.”
From March 16 to April 14, 23 lawsuits were filed against Watson alleging inappropriate conduct and sexual assault. One lawsuit was dropped by a plaintiff “for now,” according to court documents, “in light of privacy and security concerns.”
The answer, filed Monday, says the lawsuits filed against Watson are “replete with mischaracterizations of [his] conduct.”
“These range from being misleading, to fraudulent, to slanderous,” the document says. “Importantly, only two of the twenty-two lawsuits allege that Mr. Watson forced any type of sexual activity — an allegation Mr. Watson again vehemently denies.”
Watson’s legal response alleges that after eight of the plaintiffs massaged Watson, each “bragged about, praised, and were excited about massaging Mr. Watson.” The document also says seven plaintiffs “willingly worked or offered to work with Mr. Watson after their alleged incidents,” three plaintiffs “lied about the number of sessions they actually had” with Watson, three plaintiffs “lied about their alleged trauma and resulting harm” and five plaintiffs “told others they wanted to get money out of” Watson.
The answer goes into detail refuting allegations made by several of the women who filed the lawsuits against Watson, naming 16 plaintiffs specifically.
“It was not until the plaintiffs saw an opportunity for a money grab that they changed their stories to convert therapy sessions they bragged about to friends and family to something much more nefarious,” Watson’s answer alleges.
ESPN has reached out to attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women who have filed the 22 lawsuits, for comment.
Before this answer, Watson’s lone comments came when he posted a statement on Twitter, saying he had not seen the lawsuit but had previously rejected “a baseless six-figure settlement demand.”
“I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect,” Watson said in his statement.
The NFL has launched an investigation into Watson under its personal conduct policy, and last week, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy called the allegations against the quarterback “deeply disturbing.”
Chris Long poses as airline on Twitter to troll Texans RB Mark Ingram
If you’ve ever stood at the baggage claim in an airport, then you know that few things can compare to the instant relief that’s felt once your luggage appears. Maybe it’s comparable to seeing a waiter expertly navigate the restaurant floor while bringing the food to your table.
Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long took advantage of the opportunity to make light of Ingram’s travel troubles by changing his account name and profile picture to mimic the airline’s account and offered this advice:
You’re rich. Buy clothes. https://t.co/eA5AzVPCFh
— chris long (@JOEL9ONE) May 13, 2021
— chris long (@JOEL9ONE) May 13, 2021
Problem solved? Probably not.
Tennessee giving $1.2M to Tim Tebow’s foundation to help fight human trafficking
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tim Tebow joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce a multimillion-dollar partnership to fight human trafficking.
Tebow’s foundation is due for an infusion of $1.2 million in the upcoming Tennessee state budget. The annual spending plan, which tops $42 billion, is sending more than $5 million combined to Tebow’s organization and other groups to combat human trafficking.
“I would say that today, that’s not the focus,” Tebow said of the speculation concerning his signing with the Jaguars. “Today is about every life that’s being trafficked in the state of Tennessee, around the country and around the world.”
The funding will help a ministry within the Tim Tebow Foundation, named Her Song, which seeks to build safe homes in the state alongside other funded organizations, Tebow said.
The rest of the funding goes to other groups that help survivors of human trafficking in the state.
“We hope that this will facilitate and engage and inspire churches, nonprofits, organizations, individuals, to find out how they can be involved in rescuing women and children in Tennessee,” Lee said.
Tebow said the discussions on the issue began less than three months ago when country music star Luke Bryan and his wife, Caroline, introduced him to the governor’s chief of staff, Blake Harris, at Bryan’s restaurant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kansas City Chiefs acquire CB Mike Hughes from Minnesota Vikings, source says
The Chiefs traded a 2022 sixth-round pick to Minnesota while the Vikings are sending a 2022 seventh-round pick to Kansas City in the deal, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.
Hughes was drafted by the Vikings in the first round (30th overall) of the 2018 NFL draft. The Vikings declined to exercise the fifth-year contract in Hughes’ rookie contract, meaning he will be a free agent after this season.
He was limited to just four games last season because of a neck injury that resulted in him being placed on injured reserve in October.
He has appeared in 24 games in his three seasons, making seven starts. He has two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in his rookie season, 13 passes defended and 80 tackles.
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