Having escaped indictment from two grand juries, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was facing 22 lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual misconduct. That number is at 23 after another woman filed a lawsuit Tuesday, according to NFL.com.
In this latest lawsuit, Nia Smith, who worked for A New U Salon Spa in Houston, met with the quarterback three times between June 2020 and Sept. 2020. Once again, the 26-year-old NFL player denied the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations made against him.
“Deshaun Watson vehemently denies the allegations, just as he has since she first discussed them with members of our firm in March of last year,” Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement. “She repeated the allegations on social media in August and he denied them then. The only thing new about her contentions is the embellishment making them more extreme than prior versions. Deshaun’s denial remains the same.”
The lawsuit was filed after Smith watched a segment about Watson and the lawsuits filed against him on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
“In that piece, plaintiff was struck by the courage of the victims willing to step forward and speak, and was extremely displeased by Watson and his legal team’s mistreatment and revictimization of the plaintiffs,” the new lawsuit states. “But it was Watson himself claiming that even now he has ‘no regrets’ and has done nothing wrong that solidified her resolve. She brings this case seeking minimum compensation, but to obtain a court finding that Watson’s conduct was wrong.”
Earlier this year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Watson could still be suspended by the league.
In March, Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause with the Houston Texans in order to receive a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Cleveland Browns, a move that was widely criticized by fans and media.