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#pounditWednesday, April 14, 2021

Football

Deshaun Watson rapidly losing sponsors amid sexual assault allegations

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson may be locked into a massive contract with the Houston Texans, but the star quarterback is starting to lose a lot of other revenue streams as a result of the sexual assault allegations against him.

Nike announced on Wednesday that its endorsement deal with Watson has been suspended. It appears that set off a domino effect, as other companies are beginning to distance themselves from Watson as well. ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reports that Beats by Dre has terminated its relationship with Watson. Reliant Energy also issued a statement saying Watson will no longer be a brand ambassador for the company.

“Reliant is aware of pending civil lawsuits and a criminal investigation involving Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans quarterback,” the statement read, via Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. “Our relationship with Watson as a brand ambassador was scheduled to end this spring prior to these allegations, and there are no plans for future engagements or contracts with him. We take accusations of this nature very seriously. With respect to the legal process, we do not have any further comment on this matter.”

Watson and his legal team have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but the optics are getting worse by the day. The Pro Bowler has now been sued by 22 different women who accuse him of sexual misconduct during massages. Two of Watson’s alleged victims publicly revealed their identities on Tuesday. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

The NFL confirmed on Tuesday that Watson is under league investigation. All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said on Friday that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Bears reportedly shopping Anthony Miller in trade talks

Chicago Bears logo

The Chicago Bears are keeping Allen Robinson as the leader of their wide receiver corps this offseason, but another could still be on the move.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bears have had multiple trade discussions about wide receiver Anthony Miller, and a deal is possible.

Miller was a second-round pick for the Bears in 2018, and the 26-year-old has flashed some intriguing potential. As a rookie, he caught seven touchdown passes, and he set a career high with 656 receiving yards in 2019. His numbers dipped in 2020, however, with rookie Darnell Mooney taking away some of Miller’s targets.

Miller also did little to help himself during the Bears’ playoff loss to New Orleans. Perhaps that is a factor in the Bears’ willingness to potentially move on.

Ex-NFL WR Travis Rudolph arrested for murder

Travis Rudolph mug shot

Former NFL wide receiver Travis Rudolph has been arrested in Florida and is facing a murder charge.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday that Rudolph has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. The charges came after four individuals say they were shot at by Rudolph late Tuesday night. One of the victims died, another was hospitalized and two were not injured.

Rudolph, 25, signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was waived and placed on the team’s practice squad before the start of the season. Rudolph was later promoted to the active roster following injuries to multiple receivers. He caught eight passes in seven games before being waived prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Rudolph was signed to the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad in October 2018, but he never played for them after suffering a torn ACL in practice.

Prior to beginning his NFL career, Rudolph was a major contributor at Florida State. He caught 153 passes for 2,311 yards and 18 total touchdowns in three seasons.

Tom Brady explains why he let loose during Super Bowl parade

Tom Brady drunk

Tom Brady stole the show at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl parade in a way that he never did when he won his six championships in New England. The 43-year-old seemed more relaxed than ever, and now we have a better understanding of why.

Brady opened up about his infamous Lombardi Trophy toss and more during an interview with Michael Strahan of “Good Morning America” this week. Strahan noted that the Bucs’ boat parade looked like an awesome time, and Brady said it was “from what I remember.” He admitted the trophy toss could have resulted in disaster and explained why he appeared so intoxicated.

“I had a lot of fun. I don’t get to do that,” Brady said. “It’s hard to relax, and when you’re out in public and there’s phones … not that I would do anything, but it still doesn’t feel comfortable with me and my personality to have people filming. I tend to just stay home more and I don’t go out a lot.”

One of the best moments of the parade came when Brady appeared to need help getting off his boat (video here). Brady joked with Strahan that he “barely” remembers that. The seven-time Super Bowl champion essentially admitted he was drunk in this hilarious tweet.

You can see the clip from Brady’s interview with Strahan below:

While we know at least one person who was extremely bent out of shape over Brady throwing the Lombardi Trophy, most fans were happy to see the perfectionist let his guard down.

The Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Tampa party continues! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Nike suspends endorsement deal with Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has been sued by 22 women who claim they were sexually assaulted by him, and the Houston Texans star is now facing his first major consequence from the allegations.

Nike announced on Wednesday that it has suspended its endorsement of Watson amid the sexual assault scandal.

“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson,” the company told CNBC’s Jabari Young in a statement. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Watson is one of the NFL’s biggest stars and has numerous endorsement deals, so Nike’s decision could start a domino effect among some of the quarterback’s other partners.

The decision from Nike comes a day after two of Watson’s alleged victims publicly revealed their identities. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

The NFL confirmed on Tuesday that Watson is under league investigation. All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said on Friday that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Nick Saban describes Kyle Shanahan’s behavior at Alabama Pro Day

Kyle Shanahan

Reports are saying that the San Francisco 49ers are likely to take Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft. If that’s the case, the 49ers’ brass didn’t seem to give that impression to Nick Saban at Alabama’s Pro Day.

Saban was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday and talked about his encounters with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

Saban told Patrick that Shanahan didn’t ask Saban one thing.

The discussion came up because Patrick asked what Saban’s duties are for a pro day. He said one of the things he does is answer questions from some NFL people. Saban seemed serious when he said he didn’t think the NFL coaches felt they were allowed to talk with him.

Jones threw at both of Alabama’s Pro Days on March 23 and March 30. There was a ton of positive talk about him after his sessions, with teams reportedly coming away impressed.

The 49ers made their trade with Miami to move up in the draft just days after Alabama’s Pro Day. If it was a coincidence, they apparently didn’t give many hints to Saban.

Video: Sam Darnold seems so thrilled about trade to Panthers

Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold seems thrilled about his trade to a new team.

Jordan Palmer, the younger brother of former NFL quarterback Carson Palmer and currently a quarterbacks coach, shared a video on his Instagram Story Monday night. The video showed Darnold walking into a house to celebrate his trade to Carolina.

Darnold raises his arm to pump things up, indicating how happy he is. There are also Carolina Panthers-colored balloons around the room.

If you’re Darnold, how could you not be happy about the trade? Darnold dealt with injuries, mono, a flawed roster, and below-average head coach while playing for the Jets. Now he has a chance to start over anew with the Panthers. This is a second chance for Darnold, and an opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL as a starting quarterback.

The Jets already seem to have their quarterback replacement picked out.

Zach Wilson to the Jets seems like a done deal

Zach Wilson

The New York Jets cemented the notion that they will be taking a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft when they traded Sam Darnold on Monday. The Jets wouldn’t get rid of him if they didn’t like a quarterback available with the No. 2 pick more than the former USC QB. Their general manager said as much.

So who is the QB who has caught the Jets’ eye? Apparently it’s Zach Wilson.

Adam Schefter made an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” and said he sent Wilson a text message saying “welcome to New York.”

Schefter said that Trevor Lawrence is going to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1 and Wilson is going to the Jets at No. 2.

The San Francisco 49ers traded up to the No. 3 spot, and this is whom they plan to take.

Russell Wilson had important message for Seahawks teammate

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson had an important message for one of his Seattle Seahawks teammates.

Carlos Dunlap re-signed with Seattle two weeks ago on a 2-year, $16.6 million deal. Dunlap says that a talk with Wilson helped convince him to remain with the Seahawks.

Dunlap says Wilson told him he was staying with Seattle.

Though many probably could have deduced this news, it’s nice to hear if you’re a Seahawks fan.

There were a few tense weeks involving Wilson going public with his frustrations. Then you had his agent sharing a desired trade destination list.

The notion of Seattle trading Wilson this offseason likely died when the Bears signed Andy Dalton. Seattle rejected a large trade offer from Chicago, which led the Bears to sign the Red Rifle instead.

In the end, Wilson probably just wanted to air his frustration so that Seattle would make some moves he wanted.

NFL issues statement after Deshaun Watson accusers come forward

Deshaun Watson

Two of the women who say they were sexually assaulted by Deshaun Watson came forward on Tuesday and revealed their identities, and the NFL has issued a statement in the wake of the latest development.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy called the allegations “deeply disturbing” and confirmed that the league has been investigating Watson.

“The allegations are deeply disturbing and we take these issues very seriously,” McCarthy said, via ESPN’s Ed Werder. “Immediately following news of the first allegations last month, and as has been reported, we initiated an investigation under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. We are continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.”

In a Tuesday press conference arranged by attorney Tony Buzbee, a massage therapist named Ashley Solis said she was sexually assaulted by Watson on March 30, 2020. She said she has suffered from “panic attacks, anxiety and depression” as a result of the Houston Texans star’s actions. You can see the video of her statement here.

Another woman, Lauren Baxley, also revealed her identity in a statement that was read.

A total of 22 women have filed sexual assault lawsuits against Watson. Another 18 massage therapists issued statements defending the Houston Texans star (read them here), but it would be a shock if Watson is not suspended.

All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said on Friday that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.