Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson recently found himself in hot water after an alarming number of women filed lawsuits against him over sexual misconduct allegations. One of the entities that took notice of the news is one of his sponsors, Nike.
Today, the sportswear giant announced that it has suspended its sponsorship with Watson after 22 women filed suits against the Texan player for sexual assault allegations. Watson inked an endorsement deal with Nike in 2017 prior to being selected by the Texans with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” a Nike spokesperson told Complex.
The first suit was filed against Watson on March 16 where the alleged victim said Watson contacted her in late March 2020 asking to schedule a massage. After months since the alleged incident, Ashley Solis, who previously took on the alias Jane Doe #1 out of fear of backlash, finally came forward for the first time yesterday in a press conference. Like Solis, many of the accusers are either massage therapists or wellness professionals who claim Watson sexually assaulted or harassed them during various sessions over the past year.
Watson has publicly denied the allegations against him along with his agent David Mulugheta, who issued a statement on Twitter last month saying “Sexual assault is real. Victims should be heard, offenders prosecuted. Individuals fabricate stories in pursuit of financial gain often. Their victims should be heard, and those offenders also prosecuted. I simply hope we keep this same energy with the truth.”
Both the NFL and the Houston Police Department have launched their own investigation into the allegations and at the time of publication, authorities have not shared details about the case. For a complete timeline of the alleged incidents against Watson, click here.