Jenny Vrentas of The New York Times published a story yesterday that provides new context to the 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits that have been filed against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s a thoroughly reported story that deserves your attention, and its revelations include the fact that Watson visited at least 66 different massage therapists over a 17-month period, that Watson was supplied with an NDA by a Houston Texans employee after one massage therapist threatened to expose his behavior, and that Watson was provided with a room at the Houstonian hotel by the Texans, which is where he received several of his massages.
There is one piece of the story, however, that has stuck with me since its publication yesterday. Vrentas got a hold of some of Watson’s deposition transcripts, and the story contains one excerpt in which a lawyer for the plaintiffs asks Watson why he seemed totally uninterested in the qualifications held by one of the women he scheduled a massage with:
Q. Did you even ask her what her experience level was?
A. No, sir. That wasn’t a priority.
Q. Right. You didn’t care, did you?
A. That wasn’t a priority. I just wanted a massage.
Q. You didn’t care what her skill level was, correct?
A. That wasn’t a priority.
Q. You didn’t care whether she was properly trained?
A. That wasn’t my priority, sir.The New York Times
So what was his priority? Watson’s own defense attorney, Rusty Hardin, offered something of an answer a few days ago when he got on a radio show and started rambling about “happy endings.” He followed up on that by releasing a statement in which he reiterated that Watson has claimed to have had consensual sex with three of the massage therapists who are suing him. What should we think of a person who saw 66 massage therapists between 2019 and 2021, cared not at all about those women’s qualifications, claims to have had consensual sex with three them, and is being sued by 24 of them in lawsuits that describe misconduct ranging from exposing himself, to ejaculating on the therapists, to forced oral sex.
The conclusion becomes more obvious with the arrival of each new piece of information about how Watson has handled himself for the last few years. The Browns might be heavily invested in ignoring what’s staring them right in the face, to the point that we are supposed to believe that they could have been caught off guard by the arrival of a 24th lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to follow their messaging. It’s not that hard to figure out what kind of guy Deshaun Watson is. In fact, it gets easier every day.