Two of the women who have accused Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct detailed their experiences with him in an interview for HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which will air Tuesday night.
The women, each of whom provided Watson with a massage, told interviewerSoledad O'Brien that he touched them with his penis, according to the New York Post, which published excerpts from the interviews. One of the women said she immediately started to cry; the other called his alleged actions "mortifying and embarrassing and disgusting."
In all, 22 women have filed civil lawsuits against Watson, who hired them to perform massages. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The Browns acquired Watson on March 18 in a trade with the Houston Texans, surrendering significant draft capital that included three first-round picks, and then signed him to a five-year, $230-million fully guaranteed contract.
The two women said the giant contract added insult.
"It's just like a big 'screw you,'" Ashley Solis said. "That's what it feels like. That 'we don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.'"
Kyla Hayes, who also has filed suit against Watson, called the contract "sick."
"I felt like he's being rewarded for bad behavior," she said.
The lawsuits are in the pretrial discovery process, and attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women, told the Akron Beacon Journal that the women are providing information against Watson.
"The evidence against Deshaun Watson continues to mount," Buzbee said. "The walls, as they say, are closing in. We look forward to trying these cases in court as soon as practicable. We are very confident that, in the end, justice will be done."
Watson, 26, has not been charged in any of the cases. Two Texas grand juries declined to indict him earlier this year. The NFL has a separate ongoing investigation and commissioner Roger Goodell can suspend him under league conduct policies.
One of Watson's attorneys, Leah Graham, told "Real Sports" that while there are 22 women who have made accusations, Buzbee is the driving force.
"There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases," she said, as excerpted by the Post. "And as we know from Ashley Solis' deposition, Mr. Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and, quite frankly, to get on shows like this one."
Graham said Watson has admitted to consensual sexual activity with some of the women but didn't do anything illegal.
"Well, in every massage, I will tell you he did go, intending just for a professional massage, and only those three instances where sexual conduct occurred -- consensual sexual activity -- it occurred after the massage session had ended," Graham said. "And Mr. Watson has testified and is insistent that sexual activity was initiated by the plaintiff in every single instance."
--Field Level Media