Thursday, one of the 24 women who sued Watson alleging sexual misconduct spoke with attorney Tony Buzbee.
“I’ve received multiple death threats,” Ashley Solis said. She is the only woman of the 24 who has not agreed to a settlement with Deshaun Watson.
“Then, one at a time I started receiving letters and mail and emails from random people all over the country, about how they supported me, they believed me and have been inspired by me. If you are any of these people and if you are watching now, I am so grateful for you.”
“I’m here today and have been here for all the little girls, women and humans in general who have felt they didn’t have the power to speak up. You do have that power,” she shared.
“What do the actions of the NFL say to little girls who have suffered at the hands of someone perceived to have power? It’s not a big deal? They don’t care?”
“That’s what I’ve taken from their actions. I’ll let my actions say something different to those same little girls. No matter how scary, big and powerful someone may seem, they are just humans,” she continued.
“Every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell right now. And this idea that Mr. Goodell is going to hand it off to someone else independent, we don’t buy it. Mr. Goodell, what will you do? It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Buzbee said.
The I-Team took a closer look at Solis’ case.
The woman claimed that during a massage with Watson he was completely naked, did not want to cover himself at all and kept trying to get her to touch his private parts.
The woman also alleged she suffered mental and emotional stress and sought counseling.
Watson’s legal team, however, in depositions pointed out that the woman continued to respond to Watson after the first massage and tried to set up other massage sessions with him.
The woman stated in her deposition obtained by the I-Team that she did speak with NFL investigators. Sources tell the I-Team that the woman’s case was not one of the four considered by the hearing officer during Watson’s disciplinary hearing.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced an appeal of discipline for Watson’s alleged conduct with women while getting massages. The NFL commissioner will determine who will hear the appeal. There is no timeline for when a ruling will be made, however, league officials say it will be processed on an expedited basis.
So it is not clear when or if Watson will take the field for the Browns this season.
Sources say the league wants a hefty fine and a longer suspension, up to a full season.
Watson is not facing any criminal charges and denies the allegations.
If the league increases his suspension, it is likely Watson and the NFL Players Association will sue.
Thursday, the American Massage Therapists Association released a statement on Watson.
“Massage therapists should never have to tolerate conduct outside the bounds of therapeutic massage therapy within a massage session. AMTA strongly believes that any client who steps over the line to inappropriate touch should face the legal consequences. And it’s disappointing to see such a relatively light punishment from the NFL levied toward Deshaun Watson in their findings of his violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy. If the NFL is concerned about professionalism and upholding high standards in the league, creating a safe workplace for all members of athletes’ care teams should be a priority. We hope the league is taking measures to ensure that the massage therapists on the Browns’ personnel and throughout the NFL, as well as those supporting individual athletes, are able to work in a safe and professional environment.
The alleged behavior, and the language used by the legal team and others involved in this case put professional, licensed massage therapists at risk by condoning inappropriate conduct in a massage environment. Massage therapists work every day to help clients ease pain, discomfort, stress and manage medical conditions, making a meaningful difference for their clients, especially for the millions of Americans struggling with chronic pain. Massage is and always should be about health and well-being in a safe environment whether for an athlete or any other client.”Michaele Colizza, AMTA National President
- Tony Buzbee opens saying there is only 1 remaining case that is unsettled against Watson
- Remaining woman was one of the first to speak out and file suit
- Woman interviewed by the NFL and police
- Buzbee says D.A. “failed these women”
- Buzbee says they won’t comment on suspension
- Accuser Ashley Solis says she’s received multiple death threats
- “I fell into a deep depression.” – Solis
- “We all have the right to have our voices heard.” – Solis
- “I recognize that it’s hurt people who hurt people.” – Solis
- “We’re here today with a message to the NFL.” – Buzbee
- “Mr. Goodell, what will you do? It’s never too late to do the right thing.” – Buzbee