Browns QB Deshaun Watson maintains he 'never assaulted anyone'

In his first public comments since his introductory press conference with the Cleveland Browns in March, quarterback Deshaun Watson continued to dispute accusations from multiple women who have alleged he committed sexual assault.

"No, like I said I never assaulted anyone," Watson said Tuesday, following the Browns' first of three scheduled minicamp practices this week. "I never harassed anyone. I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything."

The comments mirror what Watson said back in March when he told reporters that he did not have any "regrets" regarding his actions. Watson was asked if he stood by those remarks.

"I think that question kind of triggered a lot of people," Watson said. "Not just women in general, but a lot of people in the league from women to males and things like that. What I was saying is, 'Yes, I've never assaulted, disrespected or harassed anyone', but at the same time I do understand that I do have regrets as far as the impact that it's had on the community and people outside of just myself. That includes my family; that includes this organization. That includes my teammates in this locker room that have to answer to these questions. That includes the fan base of the Cleveland Browns. That includes males, females, everyone across the world. That's one thing I do regret is the impact that this has triggered on so many people and it's tough to have to deal with."

Two additional lawsuits were filed in the past two weeks alleging that Watson committed sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions, bringing the total number of civil cases against Watson to 24. The New York Times reported on June 7 that Watson hired at least 66 different women between fall 2019 and spring 2021 for massage therapy sessions, a number of massage therapists far greater than the estimate of 40 that Watson had previously stated he employed during his five years in Houston.

Watson was asked if he thought the number reported by The Times was accurate.

"I don't think so from what me and my attorneys went through," Watson said, "but at the same time that's more of a legal question that I can't really get into details about."

Watson has previously denied any wrongdoing and maintained any sex with the women was consensual. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints filed by 10 women.

Watson is facing potential discipline from the NFL, which is independently investigating whether he violated the league's personal-conduct policy. Watson met with league investigators in May, and the NFL has not provided a timeline on a ruling on any potential Watson discipline.

"I met with the NFL a couple weeks ago, and I did everything they asked me to do, I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me," Watson said. "I spent hours with the people they brought down, and that's all I can do is just be honest and tell them exactly what happened. I know they have a job and so I have to respect that, and that's what we wanted to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's for the league."

Watson also declined to comment on a report that his legal group offered to settle with his accusers last year.

"Like I said, I just want to clear my name, and be able to let the facts and the legal procedures continue to play out," Watson said when asked if he was open to settling. "So, right now, that's all I'm doing is wanting to clear my name, and be able to let all the facts come out in the court of law and be able to focus on that."

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