HOUSTON — Deshaun Watson has offered a $100,000 settlement to each of the 22 women who filed civil lawsuits against him last spring, according to the latest litigation filed against him this week.
Attorney Tony Buzbee made the claim in the 23rd civil lawsuit filed against Watson on Tuesday, in a footnote relating to a meeting between Watson’s defense attorneys and Nia Smith, the Houston cosmetologist who filed the most recent litigation against the Cleveland Browns quarterback. In the lawsuit, Buzbee claims that in a meeting where Smith thought Watson’s attorneys were trying to “intimidate him,” they said they planned to “fight the [civil] case as far as possible. Buzbee added a note to that line, which alleged that Watson instead tried to settle the lawsuit out of court.
“Of course, we now know that Deshaun Watson offered each claimant $100,000 to settle their case,” the memo reads. “[B]But not everyone would agree to that amount, due to the aggressive nondisclosure agreement offered by Watson’s team.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegation.
Pro Football Talk was the first outlet to report the scoring on Thursday. It was also previously reported that 18 of Watson’s 22 initial accusers agreed to a global settlement, but the negotiation ultimately broke down when four women refused to participate.
Watson told reporters in late May that no settlement negotiations were underway regarding one of his civil lawsuits, which allege a series of sexual misconduct or sexual assault. But multiple sources told Yahoo Sports that there was a settlement dialogue between attorneys for Watson and Buzbee at various times after the first 22 lawsuits were filed. This included before the start of last season and near the NFL’s trade deadline, when the Miami Dolphins expressed interest in acquiring Watson if he was able to secure a comprehensive settlement with all his accusers.
That attempt fell through, paving the way for Watson’s eventual trade to the Browns nearly five months later.
At the NFL owners’ spring meetings last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league’s investigation into Watson was “nearing the end” in determining whether the QB violated the league’s personal conduct policy.