Deshaun Watson has now been accused of inappropriate behavior in 21 separate lawsuits. And yet what should be a fairly cut-and-dry set of circumstances has gotten oddly messy in the last few days.
Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the alleged victims in this matter, has established a very compelling narrative up to this point. Between his clients’ claims and the sheer quantity of them, a troubling picture emerged.
One accuser in particular appears to be deeply damaging to Watson’s defense.
That said, certain issues have arisen that undermine Buzbee’s side.
First there was the purported blackmail attempt, which obviously isn’t a great look. Then came the most recent head-scratcher: Buzbee’s apparent refusal to turn over the evidence he maintains he has to police.
Back on March 21 Buzbee seemingly indicated that he would be submitting affidavits and evidence from several accusers the following day.
March 22nd came and went with no updates.
More than a week later, Buzbee came out and revealed why he hadn’t turned the necessary information over to authorities.
“Our team has been roundly criticized because these numerous brave women haven’t filed formal criminal complaints with HPD (although we have provided info to other organizations.),” he wrote in an Instagram post.
“Here is my worry: When I ran for Houston mayor against the CURRENT mayor, I called for the resignation of the former police chief. I was thus reluctant initially in these important cases to provide info to HPD, at least while Art Acevedo was the Police Chief-even though my brother in law is a long-term HPD officer. Mr. Acevedo has now left Houston for Miami.
“Yet, I’ve since learned that my legal opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who is on of the exclusive Command Staff of HPD. I am not saying in any way that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a position that would compromise HPD and its investigation. I support his service, along with all Houston police officers-I think the rank and file know that. But, I am saying that me and my clients will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities.”
On Thursday, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, came out with a scorching response.
Deshaun Watson’s GF with the cryptic post. https://t.co/RHO5BUUm2D
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 26, 2021
“Since March 19, Mr. Tony Buzbee has repeatedly promised to submit evidence to the Houston Police Department in support of his anonymous clients’ complaints against Deshaun Watson,” Hardin said, per Pro Football Talk. “So far, he has not done so. Now, in response to media inquiries, Mr. Buzbee has abandoned his promise altogether and, in his words, will go ‘elsewhere to provide his evidence to investigative authorities.’
“His latest excuse for failing to go to law enforcement is also his lamest. Anyone who has dealt with HPD, as I have for many years, would know that Mr. Buzbee’s suggestion that the Department would overlook legitimate complaints based upon a family connection of one of its officers is ludicrous. It is also insulting to the dedicated professionals at HPD and to common sense. Mr. Buzbee’s claimed fear of HPD’s partiality is inconsistent with his prior praise for the Department’s response to the burglary of his home during his recent mayoral campaign. . . .
“I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Buzbee’s failure to go to law enforcement does not result from some baseless fear that HPD will not fairly investigate. Instead, it is from the knowledge that his parade of anonymous allegations could not survive the rigorous inquiry of trained investigators or the need to attest to the truth of the allegations under oath.
“For our part, we will continue to learn about the cases in any way that we can. We and Deshaun will always remain available to any law enforcement or regulatory agency who desires our cooperation. Apparently, Mr. Buzbee is unwilling to do the same.”
So far alleged DMs between Watson and a massage therapist have leaked out, as has a series of text messages.
Despite it all, two teams are still reportedly willing to “give up everything” to acquire him via trade, so clearly people around the league aren’t too bothered by what they’ve seen thus far.
This story seems to be evolving and shifting daily. At this point, there’s no way of knowing what tomorrow will hold.
Will the rightful parties ultimately get the justice they deserve? That’s pretty much the most everyone can hope for at this juncture.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.