Lawsuit Filed Against Texans for Allegedly Enabling Deshaun Watson's Misconduct During Massages

Attorney Tony Buzbee filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans on Monday, claiming the team "turned a blind eye" to Deshaun Watson's alleged misbehavior with massage therapists

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans passes against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty

After NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson settled 20 of the 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits against him, a new case was launched against the Houston Texans claiming the team "enabled" their former player's alleged sexual misconduct.

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee filed a lawsuit on Monday that claims the franchise "most certainly should have known" of 26-year-old Watson's alleged behavior, which includes exposing himself to massage therapists and purposefully touching their hands with his penis.

"Today we filed the first case of what will likely be many against the Houston Texans related to Deshaun Watson's behavior," Buzbee said in a statement sent to PEOPLE.

"Suffice it to say, the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson's behavior is incredibly damning," he added. "We believe the Texans knew or most certainly should have known of Watson's conduct. Beyond that, we believe the filing speaks for itself."

Buzbee, based in Houston, is representing 25 different women with lawsuits against the star quarterback, per ESPN.

A copy of Monday's lawsuit, obtained by PEOPLE, claims Watson arranged to meet a female massage therapy student over Instagram in November 2020.

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans walks off the field after the 51-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Peter Aiken/Getty

Watson met the woman at her mother's home in Manvel, Texas, and allegedly exposed himself to her during the session. The documents note that Watson had access to more experienced massage therapists through his team.

"Watson's behavior with the Plaintiff is part of a disturbing, predatory, and incriminating pattern with a multitude of female victims," the lawsuit states. "It has been widely reported in the press that Watson sought out at least sixty-six different massage therapists in a short time span, mostly by Instagram."

"The truth is that number is likely more than a hundred," the lawsuit continues. "Watson did so while employed by the Houston Texans, using his status and resources provided to him as a Houston Texans player."

PEOPLE has reached out to representatives for Watson — now a member of the Cleveland Browns — for comment. He has denied the allegations against him, Sports Illustrated previously reported.

The NFL declined to comment to PEOPLE on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that Watson repeatedly refused to have massages performed by the team's massage therapy provider.

"The Texans were well aware of Watson's preference," the lawsuit alleges, adding that the owner of the massage company "complained to the Texans that Watson was seeking out unqualified strangers for massages via Instagram."

"[The owner's] stated concern to the Texans was that Watson was putting himself in danger of contracting Covid, or getting himself sued," the lawsuit said.

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson. Ron Schwane/AP/Shutterstock

The lawsuit claims the Texans "turned a blind eye" to Watson's alleged misconduct.

"Despite being actually aware of what can only be described as troubling behavior, the Houston Texans turned a blind eye," documents state. "Worse, the Houston Texans organization enabled Watson's egregious behavior."

In a statement to PEOPLE, the Texans said they were aware of the lawsuit.

"We are aware of the lawsuit filed against us today. Since March 2021, we have fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations," the team said in a statement on Monday.

They added: "We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization."

Watson is set to appear at a hearing Tuesday with the NFL's new disciplinary officer, the Washington Post and other outlets have reported, to address a potential suspension related to the sexual misconduct lawsuits filed against him in March 2021. The league is expected to ask for a minimum 1-year suspension, the Post reported.

The NFL declined to comment to PEOPLE on Watson's potential suspension.

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