Nike suspends endorsement deal with 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.