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#pounditThursday, February 29, 2024

Rusty Hardin issues statement about baffling radio comment

Rusty Hardin near the media

Oct 8, 2014; Conroe, TX, USA; The attorney Rusty Hardin at the Montgomery county courthouse for the arraignment of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin issued a statement on Friday after drawing negative attention for his “happy endings” comment in a radio interview earlier in the day.

Hardin, who is Watson’s lead attorney defending him against allegations of sexual misconduct from 23 women, joined Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast on Sports Radio 610 in Houston Friday. Hardin talked about Watson’s case and made some baffling comments.

Hardin said he wanted to remind those listening that people getting happy endings at the end of massages are not engaging in unlawful activity (full comments here).

Hardin said that unless a payment is exchanged for the sexual favor, then the act is not breaking a law, so long as the activity is consensual. Watson’s legal team has said any sexual activity Watson had with his masseuses after massages was consensual.

The obvious problem is that those who are paying for a massage that includes a sexual favor at the end are breaking the law. So if Watson — or anyone — were paying for massages with the expectation of receiving sexual favors, then he would have been engaging in illegal activity.

Hardin drew so much negative attention over his comments that he issued a statement later on Friday.

“Deshaun Watson did nothing wrong,” said a statement sent to Larry Brown Sports and other outlets. “And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing illegal. Deshaun has always acknowledged consensual sexual activity with three of the plaintiff massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn under oath that he did not force any of his accusers to have sexual contact.

“On a Houston radio show interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a ‘happy ending’ is not illegal, meaning it is not illegal for someone to have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage unless the sex is for pay. Deshaun did not pay anyone for sex. I was using the term hypothetically and not describing Deshaun’s case.

“I have reiterated to others it’s not ok to do anything that a woman does not agree to do. These women have alleged assault in their pleadings. I was speaking in a hypothetical situation. If there is a consensual sexual encounter after a massage, that is not a crime nor the basis for a civil lawsuit. I was not talking about what Deshaun did or did not do or expected or did not expect.”

Watson was investigated by two grand juries in Texas, which both declined to indict him. The Cleveland Browns quarterback is facing 23 lawsuits. We recently learned the price for which he tried to settle the suits.

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