Nike suspends Deshaun Watson deal over ‘disturbing’ sexual assault allegations

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Nike has suspended its partnership with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson after greater than 20 ladies got here ahead to accuse him of sexual assault or inappropriate habits.

“We’re deeply involved by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We are going to proceed to intently monitor the state of affairs,” Nike stated in a press release launched to CNBC on Wednesday.

The Texans paid Watson practically $30m final season, and he makes tens of millions extra in sponsorship offers with firms corresponding to Rolex and Beats by Dre who, till just lately, had been eager to affiliate themselves with one of the crucial gifted gamers within the NFL. Watson’s different sponsors have but to problem statements on the allegations.

On Tuesday, two of the ladies who’ve filed lawsuits towards Watson spoke publicly in regards to the allegations. Most of Watson’s accusers are skilled therapeutic massage therapists who say the quarterback assaulted them or acted inappropriately throughout therapies.

“I come ahead now in order that Deshaun Watson doesn’t assault one other lady. … I’m searching for justice not simply on behalf of myself however for all survivors. … That is about having my voice heard,” one of many Watson accusers, Ashley Solis, informed a press convention on Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s information convention, an lawyer with the agency representing Watson’s accusers learn a letter written by one other of the ladies who has accused Watson of sexual assault and has additionally chosen to be publicly recognized.

Within the letter, Lauren Baxley known as Watson “a predator with energy” and alleged he touched her together with his penis a number of occasions throughout a therapeutic massage session. She stated that after the session, she felt disgrace and terror that nobody would imagine her.

“There’s trauma related to undesirable sexual contact and assault in a spot that’s meant to deliver peace and remedy, however there are even deeper terrors that you’ve got introduced into my life,” Baxley stated.

The Houston police division is investigating the allegations.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has known as the allegations “meritless” and has questioned the claims made towards the 25-year-old, alleging they have been made following a failed try and blackmail his shopper for $30,000.

“We welcome this lengthy overdue improvement. Now we’ll be taught the id of no less than one accuser. We are going to absolutely cooperate with the Houston police division,” Hardin stated on Friday in a press release.

Watson is among the league’s high quarterbacks and led the NFL in passing yards final season. He signed a four-year, $156m contract extension with the Texans final offseason, however he grew to become sad with the route of the workforce as Houston sunk to 4-12. Watson requested a commerce in January.

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