Deshaun Watson denies alleged sexual assault lawsuit claim floated on social media by lawyer, failed Houston mayoral candidate

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson took to social media late Tuesday night to deny an apparently forthcoming sexual assault lawsuit that was revealed on Instagram by attorney and failed Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee.

Buzbee disclosed the alleged litigation in a vague post on his verified social media account at nearly 10 p.m. CT, referencing “behavior” by Watson toward Buzbee’s client as the driving factor for the lawsuit in question. Fox 26 affiliate in Houston then reported that Buzbee told the station that Watson allegedly “went too far” while getting a massage from a female masseuse who is apparently being represented by Buzbee.

While Buzbee’s allegation and media post were vague, Watson responded to them with a statement posted on his social media accounts in which he said he had not seen the complaint, but that he believed the action to be an extension of a “six-figure” settlement demand that was apparently made before the suit was allegedly filed. Watson said in his statement that he had rejected the settlement demand and would clear his name with his responses.

The Texans issued a statement of their own Wednesday morning:

"We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night. This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon. We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident."

Tuesday’s late-night social media volley was an unexpected twist in an offseason Watson saga that has seen the quarterback request a trade from the Texans. As late as last week, the franchise told other NFL teams that it did not intend to actively field offers for Watson, although new head coach David Culley failed to rule out a trade in an appearance on the NFL Network’s "Huddle and Flow" podcast. Even before Tuesday’s lawsuit allegation, Watson’s impasse with the Texans and desire to get out of Houston remained one of the most talked about soap operas around the league, with multiple teams relaying behind the scenes that they have interest in acquiring Watson and have been waiting for the Texans to engage in trade talks.

The involvement of Buzbee in an alleged suit against Watson adds a surreal layer of fascination in the city, as Buzbee is famously known in Houston for being an aggressive, showy and highly visible trial attorney. Buzbee most recently announced that he intended to sue the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and electricity provider Entergy for more than $100 million, while representing a family that lost an 11-year-old during the city’s staggering blackout during a February winter storm. He also made local news in July after asking his fiancee to marry him aboard a 154-foot yacht allegedly owned by Buzbee, an event that reportedly included a private fireworks show and a 10-carat diamond ring.

The height of Buzbee’s fame in Houston came during the city’s 2019 mayoral election cycle, in which he entered the ticket as an independent and sought to topple Democratic incumbent Sylvester Turner. Buzbee ultimately advanced as Turner’s chief election rival for the office, but ultimately lost in sweeping fashion in the first round of voting and an ensuing runoff.

Long before that, Buzbee, who once referred to the late Bob McNair as his neighbor, publicly lobbied the Texans owner to draft Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel using billboards.

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