Twenty of the civil lawsuits filed against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson have reached a settlement. Attorney Tony Buzbee released a statement on the matter on Tuesday.
There were 24 civil lawsuits filed against Watson. Allegations against the quarterback include inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Four plaintiffs will continue forward with their lawsuits.
“We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements,” Buzbee said in the statement. “Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential.”
Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal charges in March. The NFL is investigating whether or not the quarterback violated the league’s code of conduct.
Tuesday’s statement from Buzbee does not affect the league’s process in this matter. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the latest developments “has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”
In his statement, Buzbee said that Ashley Solis was not one of the 20 plaintiffs to agree to a settlement. She was the first woman to speak publicly about Watson’s alleged inappropriate behavior and come forward as a plaintiff.
“Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story,” the statement said. “Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”
Watson has maintained his innocence against the accusations.
NFL Reportedly Seeking Significant Suspension Against Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson has avoided criminal charges and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits. However, a harsh punishment from the NFL could be on the horizon. Citing “multiple people familiar with the case,” Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported the league is likely to seek a “significant” suspension for the quarterback.
The report indicates the NFL would “probably” look into a season-long suspension. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believed the investigation was nearing a conclusion, according to ESPN.
Watson has maintained his innocence, saying he “never assaulted, disrespected or harassed anyone.”
“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,” Watson said. “… It’s tough to have to deal with.”
In March, the Texans traded the quarterback to Cleveland. In exchange, Houston received three first-round draft picks. The Browns signed Watson to a fully-guaranteed, five-year contract worth $230 million.