The attorney for the 22 women who have accused Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual harassment said that Watson testified that one of the women cried at the end of his massage therapy session.
Attorney Tony Buzbee told USA Today on Tuesday that during a pretrial deposition last week, the 26-year-old quarterback said he sent Ashley Solis a text message apologizing after noticing that she was in tears when he left her residence.
Solis, an Houston-based massage therapist, was the first woman to publicly accuse Watson of sexual misconduct, according to USA Today.
“Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable,” he wrote in the text message, obtained by Solis’s attorneys and shared with the news outlet. “Never were the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies.”
Watson said at the deposition hearing that he sent the text message to Solis because she looked emotional after the session, hoping could work together in the future, USA Today reported.
“But you know why you sent that text apology afterwards?” Buzbee reportedly asked Watson at the deposition hearing.
“Yes, because she was teary-eyed,” Watson replied, according to USA Today. “And I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed that she was uncomfortable in whatever reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, `We can work in the future. Just let me know.’ And then I sent my apologies as whatever reason she was teary-eyed for.”
Watson, a three-time Pro Bowl selection at quarterback, is expected to meet with NFL officials later this week in Texas to discuss the matter, sources told USA Today reporter Josina Anderson.
The league launched an investigation last year into the allegations against Watson, which could result in him getting suspended by the league for violating its personal conduct policy.
Watson was traded to the Browns from the Houston Texans in March for multiple draft picks. Watson sat out for the entire 2021 NFL season while seeking a trade from Houston.
Cleveland acquired the quarterback a week after a Texas jury rejected nine sexual assault claims against Watson, meaning he won’t face any criminal charges.
Twenty-two women had accused Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis or kissing them without their consent during massage appointments in 2020 and 2021.
Watson, who has denied any wrongdoing with regard to the allegations against him, has other pretrial depositions set in June, USA Today noted.