Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is now facing 22 separate sexual misconduct lawsuits. The news of the first case being filed against Watson broke on March 16. Since then, 21 more women have come forward and are filing lawsuits against him as well. Unfortunately, conspiracy theories and insufficient reporting have led to a lack of attention and information toward this situation.
Shortly after the news of the first case broke, Watson went to Twitter, saying that he was asked for hush money and went on to say, “...this isn’t about money for me - it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”
However, the evidence is stacking up against the young quarterback. All 22 women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct were hired to give him private massages. The court eventually ruled that the women accusing Watson must reveal their names, and two women, Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley, have spoken out publicly against Watson and are suing him. Solis, Baxley and many of the other women accusing him of sexual misconduct tell similar horrific stories involving Watson.
Prior to this news, the 25-year-old out of Clemson University had been one of the most sought-after quarterbacks this offseason after asking to be traded from the Texans. However, they have refused to trade him. Angered by the organization's decision, Watson said that he would be willing to sit out the entire 2021-2022 season if the Texans decided to keep him.
This controversy between Watson and the Texans originally led a lot of people to come up with conspiracy theories regarding the lawsuits. The most popular theory was that since Watson wanted nothing to do with Houston, the organization had multiple women come out and accuse him of sexual assault in order to ruin his career. From the start, this train of thought was extremely weak, and every day this idea becomes more and more clear that it is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. This, along with sports media placing priority above these incidents in recent NFL coverage, show that this situation needs to be taken more seriously and covered more closely in sports media.
This is some of the most startling and unsettling news in sports in a long time and yet at first it seemed as if it wasn’t getting enough attention. When the first three cases were filed against Watson, the sports world appeared silent. It feels like it took 19 more women to come out and also accuse Watson of sexual misconduct before news organizations really began talking about it. As the situation develops with Watson, sports media organizations need to make sure they do a better job of covering this case and all future cases.
This is the opinion of Ben Barrett, a junior journalism major from Brooklyn, New York. Tweet comments to @LAloyolan or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.