The 22 open lawsuits against former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson are still pending. One of those that could cause more problems deals with the fact of why he would continue to contact massage therapist on social media after he was warned not to do so.
The NFL’s former counsel for operations and litigation Jodi Balsam, now an associate professor at Brooklyn Law School, recently spoke to Brent Schrotenboer with USA TODAY about the cases surrounding Watson.
One of the things that could end up being a lot more detrimental to his case deals with an alleged incident on March 5 and was filed by a massage therapist in Georgia.
This one stands out because it’s the most recent alleged incident. Another thing that makes it stand out is the fact that it came at what can only be described as an odd period in the timeline of accusations.
Why is this you ask? Because this one was supposed to have taken place 11 days before the first lawsuit was made public on March 16 and merely weeks after Watson was put on notice that he should not be in the habit of cruising for massages with strangers on social media.
Watson was reportedly warned by his own sports agency, Athletes First, after another therapist in Texas tried to resolve her own misconduct claim against him. This one was done privately through attorneys out of court back in February.
“For him to resume this pattern of behavior after litigation was pending, after a warning from his own support network … that pattern of behavior is at a minimum reckless. It also possibly indicates some kind of addictive or compulsive behavior here.”Balsam told USA TODAY Sports
Balsam is not the only person that sees an issue here. Kenneth Williams, professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston also feels that this could hurt his cases.
“At a minimum Watson’s conduct would seem to be extremely reckless in contacting the massage therapist … after being put on notice that another therapist was complaining about his conduct during a previous massage. This could undercut his defense, but he also might use it to claim that he didn’t believe he hadn’t done anything wrong or inappropriate with Solis.”Williams told USA TODAY Sports
This leads one to question why Watson did not heed the warning from the same people that he entrusted his wealth and name to. Not only did he not heed it, but reportedly went against it just weeks after the following statement issued by Scott Gaffield, the general counsel of Athletes First.
“We believed then – and fully believe now – that Deshaun learned a lesson about putting himself in this type of situation by interacting with people he does not know.”Gaffield on April 6
Over the past two weeks, there has been silence from both sides, when at one point it seemed the attorneys from each side were making statements on a daily basis. With training camps rapidly approaching, the silence could indicate that Watson is working to settle the cases in an effort to put the whole mess behind him and get on with his career.