The attorney for NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson found himself playing defense over what many found to be inappropriate remarks about “happy endings” especially considering his client’s ongoing legal troubles with female masseuses, 23 of whom have sued the superstar slinger with the number set to reach an even two dozen when another lawsuit is filed on Monday.
Watson, who sat out all of last season as a result of his legal troubles before his team, the Houston Texans, traded him to the Cleveland Browns for a veritable king’s ransom in draft picks, is hoping to resume his career in 2022 after the league determines whether he will face disciplinary action with some sort of a suspension being widely expected, but the comments by lawyer Rusty Hardin have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to his troubled situation.
Hardin was engulfed by a white-hot firestorm after during an appearance on a Houston sports radio talk show on Friday, he suggested that there is nothing wrong with “rub and tug” massages — the type which Watson stands accused of coercing massage parlor workers to perform on him — and that they aren’t necessarily illegal.
“I don’t know how many men are out there now that have had a massage that perhaps, occasionally there was a happy ending, alright” Hardin mused. “Maybe there’s nobody in your listening audience that’s happened to.
“I do want to point out, if it has happened, it’s not a crime, ok?” he added. “Unless you are paying somebody extra or so to give you some type of sexual activity, it’s not a crime.”
Deshaun Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin ended his interview with @SethCPayne & @SeanTPendergast this morning reminding the audience that "happy endings" to massages are not necessarily illegal. https://t.co/dkWBghW7Eg pic.twitter.com/V0nOq1PeAi
— SportsRadio 610 (@SportsRadio610) June 3, 2022
In addition to being vilified on Twitter, Hardin also may have cost his client dearly with attorney Tony Buzbee who is representing all of the woman who have filed civil lawsuits against Watson for alleged sexual misconduct vowing to use the comments to his advantage.
“Tony Buzbee told me Hardin “may have single-handedly lost his client’s case because I’m absolutely going to use that comment because I think it speaks volumes to how he, his team and his client think about the massage industry,” ESPN reporter John Barr tweeted on Friday.
Tony Buzbee told me Hardin “may have single-handedly lost his client’s case because I’m absolutely going to use that comment because I think it speaks volumes to how he, his team and his client think about the massage industry.”
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) June 3, 2022
Buzbee added: “If you’re in the massage industry, according to Rusty Hardin, that’s to be expected. And apparently that’s what his client expected. I promise you that’s not what any of these women expected.”
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) June 3, 2022
The fierce reaction to Hardin’s comments on SportsRadio 610 led to the lawyer issuing a statement walking them back.
According to Hardin, “Deshaun Watson did nothing wrong. And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing illegal. Deshaun has always acknowledged consensual sexual activity with three of the plaintiff massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn under oath that he did not force any of his accusers to have sexual contact.”
“On a Houston radio show interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a ‘happy ending’ is not illegal, meaning it is not illegal for someone to have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage unless the sex is for pay,” he wrote. “Deshaun did not pay anyone for sex. I was using the term hypothetically and not describing Deshaun’s case. Deshaun did not pay anyone for sex. I was using the term hypothetically and not describing Deshaun’s case.”
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) June 3, 2022
“I have reiterated to others it’s not ok to do anything that a woman does not agree to do. These women have alleged assault in their pleadings. I was speaking in a hypothetical situation. If there is a consensual sexual encounter after a massage, that is not a crime nor the basis for a civil lawsuit.” Hardin added. “I was not talking about what Deshaun did or did not do or expected or did not expect.”
Buzbee has confirmed reports that he will be filing another lawsuit on behalf of a 24th victim against Watson on Monday, a 23rd suit was filed last week after the woman reportedly changed her mind after watching a repot on the lawsuits on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, two Texas grand juries have declined to bring charges against the Cleveland Browns quarterback.
The former Clemson University star who led the Tigers to college football’s national championship before being drafted by the Texans was one of the NFL’s most promising young gunslingers until the lawsuits were filed against him.
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