Deshaun Watson said he's 'never disrespected a woman,' which suggests an ugly truth of his massage encounters
(Warning: This story contains graphic allegations of sexual misconduct.)
It's clear now.
During Deshaun Watson's pathetic introductory news conference with the Cleveland Browns in March, as Browns general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski spoke of having confidence in "Deshaun the person," that very person claimed more than once he has "never assaulted, harassed or disrespected any woman in my life."
For good measure, he used his mother and her two sisters, his aunts, as a shield, saying that's not how they raised him. Men accused of sexual assault or any kind of wrongdoing against women almost always trot out the women in their lives as a shield, as if their existence means they couldn't have done what's asserted they did, much in the same way racists trot out their one Black friend as cover.
Reading the newest reporting on Watson's alleged behavior from The New York Times' Jenny Vrentas, it's clear now:
Deshaun Watson didn't really see the alleged victims as women, not in the way he presumably sees his mother and aunts. He saw them as sex objects, hired for his depraved pleasure, whether they wanted to provide it or not.
It's why he continues to assert that he did nothing wrong, despite a member of his own legal team confirming sexual conduct took place in three of the sessions, and despite acknowledging that one of his accusers, Ashley Solis, had tears in her eyes at the end of their session and his texting her "sorry about you feeling uncomfortable" immediately after.
He has testified under oath, according to The Times, that he doesn't understand why he was called to answer questions.
“Like I told you at the beginning of this depo, I’m still trying to figure out why we in the situation we are in right now, why I’m talking to you guys, why you guys are interviewing me," Watson reportedly said. "I don’t know. Do not know.”
He apparently had no interest in therapeutic massage, and was not looking for top-notch care for his body, which is a necessity for an NFL player.
Via Vrentas' reporting, one of the women who has filed a lawsuit against Watson was a flight attendant who began taking massage therapy classes during the pandemic. Another woman was an aesthetician who told Watson her license allowed her to provide only a back facial, with cleansers and such, and not a massage. Under questioning during a deposition, attorney Tony Buzbee reportedly asked Watson if he inquired about the experience level of one of the women, and Watson said more than once that he hadn't because it wasn't a priority for him.
The Times verified that Watson had appointments with 66 women over 17 months, and he went to many of them multiple times. Some of the women who spoke to Vrentas for the story have not filed a lawsuit against Watson nor have they gone to police, so skeptics can save their tired line about them looking for a quick payday.
It doesn't seem like Watson didn't want proper therapy. It seems like he wanted to exert his power and feed his desires, no matter how humiliated and violated it made the women involved feel.
He was preying on women, many of them Black women, playing on their emotions by saying repeatedly he was "just tryna support Black businesses" to get them to rearrange their schedule to work on him.
Unfortunately, it's not new to see Black men disrespect Black women the way the rest of American society always has.
That doesn't make it any less disappointing.
The predatory behavior continued even as some of the women warned Watson.
One, who says he begged her to put her mouth on his penis, says she told him, "What's going on? You're about to mess up everything." And at least one of the women threatened to go public with Watson's behavior; that's when the Houston Texans, Watson's former team, get dragged into this situation through Vrentas' reporting, with the team's director of security providing Watson with a nondisclosure agreement after the woman posted on Instagram "I could really expose you" with Watson's phone number, text messages and CashApp receipts.
Once he had the NDA in hand, Watson allegedly weaponized it, telling at least one woman he wouldn't pay her unless she signed it.
Over the past week, two more women have filed lawsuits, and now there is The Times' story that shows the lengths Watson reportedly went to in order to satisfy his craven urges.
Never forget that several teams were throwing money at Watson to get him to pick them, culminating in the Browns offering $230 million guaranteed, the largest contract in NFL history.
They looked at Watson and saw nothing but potential wins, and were willing to do whatever they could in pursuit of him.
Watson, meanwhile, looked at professionals trying to maintain a small business or start a new career and didn't see women. Just targets for his rapacious behavior.