The voices of some of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct were heard Thursday during a press conference in the Houston law office of their attorney, Tony Buzbee.
23 of the 24 women filed lawsuits against Watson. All but one have settled.
“What do the actions of the NFL say to little girls who’ve suffered at the hands of someone perceived to have power?” Ashley Solis said during the press conference. “ That it is not a big deal? That they don’t care?”
Solis was the first person to file suit against Watson.
She settled her lawsuit earlier this week. Solis was the only accuser to speak out during the press conference.
Buzbee, however, read messages he received from several of the other women who sued Watson. Buzbee, who represented all of the 24 accusers, said the women were all upset by the six-week suspension Watson received after it was determined he violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
All the woman alleged in their lawsuits that Watson committed sexual misconduct during massages.
“One of the women said this slap on the wrist to him is a slap in the face to us,” Buzbee said.
The women think Watson deserves more punishment and so does the league. The NFL is appealing the punishment and looking to have Watson suspended for up to a full season.
The NFL commissioner has appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey to decide the appeal.
The league says they want a longer suspension, an appropriate fine and a professional evaluation and treatment of Watson determined by medical experts.
“We can comment on how the NFL has bungled this matter,” Buzbee said. “It’s never too late to do the right thing and that’s what these women and everyone who is watching is expecting.”
While Buzbee was critical of the NFL investigation, two investigators spent months looking into the case.
The investigation was conducted by two former prosecutors with decades of experience investigating sexual assault cases.
The investigators interviewed a total of 49 people, including 12 of the accusers, Watson, and other third-party witnesses.
NFL officials stated the investigators did attempt to interview all of the accusers, but the remaining 12 were either not made available by their attorney or did not feel comfortable being interviewed.
The NFL produced a 215-page investigation report. The FOX 8 I-Team has requested a copy of the report but we were told it would not be released.
Robinson also stated in her decision, “My credibility determinations are based largely on the credibility of the NFL investigators.”
The league is not saying how long the appeal process will take or when a decision on Watson’s discipline will be made.