Deshaun Watson rapidly losing sponsors amid sexual assault allegations
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.