Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has vowed to clear his name after being sued by a massage therapist alleging sexual misconduct in March 2020.
The lawsuit was filed in Harris County, Texas on Tuesday, and alleges that Watson exposed himself and touched the unnamed plaintiff's hand with his genitals during a massage at the female therapist's home.
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Watson responded with a statement on social media.
"As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff's lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me," he wrote.
"I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect.
"The plaintiff's lawyer claims that this isn't about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected.
"Unlike him, this isn't about money for me - it's about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that."
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The Texans said in a statement Wednesday that they learned of the civil lawsuit via social media on Tuesday night.
"We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night," the team said.
"This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon.
"We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organisation seriously.
"We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident."
The Texans drafted Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and coach David Culley has said the team is "committed" to him, although the three-time Pro-Bowler has reportedly requested a trade.
He threw for a league-leading 4832 yards in 2020, with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
As late as last week, the Texans told other NFL teams that it did not intend to actively field offers for Watson, although new head coach Culley failed to rule out a trade in an appearance on the NFL Network’s "Huddle and Flow" podcast.
Even before Tuesday’s lawsuit allegation, Watson’s impasse with the Texans and desire to get out of Houston remained one of the most talked about soap operas around the league.
Multiple teams have been relaying behind the scenes that they have interest in acquiring Watson and have been waiting for the Texans to engage in trade talks.
The Texans signed Watson to a four-year, $156 million extension before the 2020 season.
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