Nike has suspended its endorsement of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, as first reported by Jabari Young from CNBC on Wednesday.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in a statement
Watson and lawyer Rusty Hardin have denied the allegations saying the claims result from a failed blackmail attempt.
The first woman who accused Watson of sexual misconduct while receiving a series of private massages made her first public appearance on Tuesday.
Ashley Solis said she’s seeking treatment for “panic attacks, anxiety and depression” due to Watson’s actions in March of 2020. She wants Watson to be held accountable for his alleged behavior. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct in lawsuits filed by 22 women, all represented by Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee.
Hardin reportedly said one of the women being represented by Buzbee is demanding $100K to “settle” with Watson.
The Houston Police Department said Friday that it was opening a criminal investigation after a complaint was filed against Watson. No charges have been brought against the Texans QB.
Watson, 25, is scheduled to make over $10 million for the upcoming season in Houston. The former Clemson star signed a four-year extension worth $156 million, and will see a pay bump to $35 million per season in 2022.
But whether he’ll be back in Houston is not promised at this point. Watson requested to be traded prior to the sexual misconduct allegations. He’s a top-tier NFL quarterback, but could be swept up by off-the-field legal troubles.