Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson admitted in a pre-trial deposition last week to sending an apologetic text to a massage therapist after she cried when their session ended, according to USA Today.
Watson currently faces 22 civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists accusing the quarterback of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during sessions from early 2020 to March 2021.
According to a partial transcript obtained by the paper, Watson said he reached to the massage therapist after her reaction but claimed he did not know why she cried.
“Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable. Never were the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies,” Watson’s text read, per the transcript.
According to USA Today, the deposition last week was on behalf of Ashley Solis, who was the first woman to file a lawsuit against Watson last year. Solis did not reply to Watson’s message, per the lawsuit.
In the deposition, the woman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee asked Watson, “But you know why you sent that text apology afterwards?”
Watson reportedly replied, “Yes, because she was teary-eyed, and I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed that she was uncomfortable in whatever reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, ‘We can work in the future. Just let me know.’ And then I sent my apologies as whatever reason she was teary-eyed for.”
Watson’s alleged encounter with Solis occurred on March 30, 2020, in her Houston-area home.
Watson has other pretrial depositions scheduled for June, but is not expected to go to trial with any of the 22 lawsuits until after February, according to a reported deal between the plaintiffs and defense attorneys.
Watson was never arrested or charged in relation to the cases. He has maintained his innocence since the allegations became public in March 2021 — and denied assaulting, harassing or disrespecting any woman in his introductory press conference with the Browns in March.
Watson previously faced 10 criminal complaints. In March, two separate grand juries decided against indicting him on criminal charges. That same month, the Browns traded for Watson and signed the former Texans quarterback to a record five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract.
Watson is reportedly scheduled to meet with the NFL in Texas this week, as the quarterback still faces possible discipline from the league.
The NFL has been conducting its own investigation of Watson to determine if he violated its code of conduct, and has not given a timetable for its investigation of Watson.