Deshaun Watson will not be prosecuted after being accused of sexual misconduct by 22 Houston-area massage therapists, but the court of public opinion could 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 airs Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET.
“While I’m working, he intentionally grabs and puts his penis on my hand,” Solis said.
“And I immediately pulled my hand away and started crying. And I told him I’m done. I don’t want to do that anymore.”
Hayes also described her alleged experience with Watson.
“He wanted me to do a kind of V-movement in his pelvic area. So go down his stomach to his thighs, back to his stomach,” Hayes told O’Brien. “I just kept massaging and doing what he wanted until his penis kept touching me while I did it. He moved his penis back and forth while my hands moved as well.”
Hayes confirmed this was “on purpose” on Watson’s part, saying: “At one point he ejaculated. It was shameful and embarrassing and disgusting.”
Solis said that after the massage was complete, the quarterback addressed what “sounded like a threat” to her.
“He just said, ‘I know you have a career to protect.’ And ‘I know you don’t want anyone messing with this, just like I don’t want anyone messing with me.’ For me, that was the moment 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 like a big screw you,” Solis said of the contract. “That’s how it feels. We do not care. He can run and throw, and that’s important to us.”
“I felt sick,” she said. “I felt like he was being rewarded for bad behavior.”
In March, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas ruled not to press criminal charges against him in connection with the allegations made by Solis, Hayes and 20 others. He still has civil proceedings pending and faces possible discipline under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing related to the massages, claiming that any sexual activity was consensual. He repeated that denial to HBO when presented with Solis and Hayes’ specific allegations.
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.
“There are 22 women. It’s an attorney,” Graham said, citing plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee. “There is only one lawyer who was willing to take on these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ testimony, Mr. Buzbee wasn’t the first, probably not the second or third attorney she went to, but he was the only one who took her case.
“Why? Not because it’s of any value, but because he would use these cases to grow his following on social media and quite frankly, get on shows like this.
Graham was asked to explain the sexual activity in the massages.
“Well, with every massage, I’ll tell you he left just to get a professional massage, and only in the three instances where there was sexual behavior — consensual sexual activity — did it happen after the massage session ended.” said Graham. “And Mr Watson has testified and insists that in each and every instance this sexual activity was initiated by the plaintiff.”
Pressed on Watson, who said he had no regrets about the incidents, Graham claimed that still was the case.
“As he said in his statements last week, yes he has no regrets because he has done nothing wrong,” she said.
“He did nothing wrong with these massages. And although – to your first question: “How can he be innocent?” I think the real question is, ‘What evidence is there of guilt?’”