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It doesn't stop with DeShaun Watson. Why the NFL needs to investigate the Houston Texans

DeShaun Watson.jpg
Keith Allison
Wikimedia Commons
DeShaun Watson's former team, the Houston Texans, recently settled lawsuits from 30 women in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.

While the Cleveland Browns await a decision on a possible suspension for quarterback DeShaun Watson, his former team remains in the headlines for its alleged role regarding sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The Houston Texans have settled lawsuits against 30 women who accused the team of turning a blind eye to allegations that Watson was sexually assaulting and harassing women during massage sessions.

Commentator Terry Pluto says the allegations stem from a New York Times report.

"Houston was setting up hotel suites for Watson to meet with different massage therapists and that a member of the Houston organization was giving Watson nondisclosure agreements to have the therapists sign," Pluto said.

The Texans issued a statement admitting no wrongdoing, saying that they hope the settlement will “provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans and the Houston community at large."

"If you're the Houston Texans, if you think there is nothing wrong, why are you paying off 30 women? You know what that says: I want this to go away. But the NFL should say, 'No. This is our league. And what we want is we want things done right,'" Pluto said.

"If you're the Houston Texans, if you think there is nothing wrong, why are you paying off 30 women?"
Terry Pluto

Pluto says there is no reason for Watson to have to seek out therapists and require hotels and non-disclosure agreements.

"They have [massage therapists] at their facility and they have access to some of the best sports medicine, massage therapists, acupuncture, you name it. Furthermore, it's in a perfect environment, not a hotel suite. And, all these teams have deals with all their big hospitals in their different areas. It's a perfect setup."

NBC reports the NFL isn't saying whether it will investigate the Texans.

Pluto says there must be repercussions.

"You could take draft picks away from them. They got six of them from Cleveland in that trade."

Meanwhile, next week, training camp opens and Deshaun Watson and the Browns are still awaiting a decision on a possible suspension.

"I'm not even going to guess on what the NFL's going to do, because we're on a new territory. In the past, the league would simply rely on the commissioner to make a decision. But right now, there's a new thing in place where the union for the players and the NFL agreed to hire Sue Robinson. She is a former judge. She basically had a three-day trial. She's asked both sides to submit briefs. Then she will make a recommendation."

The NFL could opt to go with Robinson's decision regarding the length of Watson's suspension or, if the league is unsatisfied with how the arbitrator rules, appeal it and seek a longer, year-long suspension. Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports that Watson and his legal team are prepared to sue the NFL if he gets a full-year suspension.

Watson has settled all but four of 24 civil suits from women accusing him of sexual misconduct. He has denied any wrongdoing. Two grand juries in Texas declined to file charges.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.