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#pounditSunday, April 11, 2021

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.

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