I was hesitant to “go there” with the DeShaun Watson sexual harassment/assault allegations that have been piling up by the day (22 now), but let’s be honest: we’re all thinking the same thing here.
Isn’t it a little odd that all this stuff comes out about Watson while he’s in a very public feud with Texans ownership? It just seems like questionable timing.
I don’t know DeShaun Watson at all. Like you, I’ve only seen him on TV. But in the ~6ish years I’ve been watching Watson on TV, listening to him talk, seeing him in action as an NFL QB, he just never struck me as a guy who would do this type of thing. He’s always seemed like a stand-up guy, from what I saw. I could be completely wrong, of course. Seeing someone on TV does not mean you “know” that person, no matter how much you feel like you know the person. But still, Watson has never struck me as a “creep” or a predator.
Everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty. As far as I know, DeShaun Watson has never caused any real trouble in his life. He’s never had any run-ins with the law. None of this means these allegations are automatically untrue. It just means that they’re difficult to believe.
And while Watson deserves his day in court, so, too, do his accusers. It’s only fair, and it’s the only way the innocent are exonerated and the guilty are convicted. We can’t just dismiss these claims against Watson out of hand because we like him and he’s really good at football.
However, something feels fishy about this story.
A theory gaining traction on social media is that these allegations against Watson are a smear campaign orchestrated by Texans ownership/upper management as a way to get revenge on Watson.
The sports media has been lambasting the Texans front office, especially EVP of Football Operations Jack Easterby, for months now, and it’s not only because of their handling of the DeShaun Watson trade situation, but because of the reason Watson requested a trade in the first place: they have run that franchise into the ground. They traded away DeAndre Hopkins for pennies on the dollar. They somehow managed to go from 10-6 and winning a playoff game in 2019 (and having a 24-0 lead on the Chiefs in the Divisional Round) to 4-12 in under a year. They destroyed that team in record time.
The organization appears incompetent and toxic, and Watson’s public demands for a trade have only drawn more media attention to the sinking ship that is the Houston Texans.
So, people are thinking, maybe this is the Texans trying to get back at DeShaun Watson for turning them into basically Public Enemy #1 in the NFL.
It’s an insanely evil thing to do–not to mention risky in a legal sense if you get caught fabricating sexual assualt allegations–especially to your own quarterback, but it’s at least a plausible theory.
After all, this attorney that is representing all these accusers, Tony Buzbee, apparently lives on the same street as the McNair family, who own the Texans. People on the internet have drawn the fairly obvious conclusion that he and the McNairs are working together to smear Watson’s good name.
For what it’s worth, Buzbee addressed the talk about him living on the same street as the McNairs. This is what he had to say:
“I need to dispel some silly rumors. Yes, I live on RIver Oaks Blvd, and I live near the McNair family. But I don’t know the McNair family. I wouldn’t recognize Cal or Hal or whatever his name is if I saw him on the street. This case has nothing to do with the Texans, it has nothing to do with free agency, the timing. I frankly don’t care about it, the Texans are not a team that I follow. This case is about women–brave women, who are willing to step forward knowing that they will be criticized and ostracized.”
First thing: Buzbee brought these rumors up on his own. No reporter asked him about them. Second thing: are we to believe that he doesn’t know the McNair family at all despite them being rather prominent in the Houston area, and living on the same street as him? “Cal or Hal or whatever his name is.” Really? We’re supposed to believe this guy doesn’t know Cal McNair’s name? I’m not buying it.
If anything, Buzbee going out of his way to try to convince everyone he hasn’t the slightest clue about the McNair family or the Houston Texans is going to make people more suspicious about a potential conspiracy.
There’s another suspicious line he uttered, too: “The Texans are not a team that I follow.” Which implies that he follows some other team, and therefore is a football fan to some degree, and would, in fact, have at least some cursory knowledge about the situation between Watson and the Texans. Buzbee could’ve said, “I’m not a football fan at all.” But he didn’t. He just said the Texans are not a team that he follows.
Buzbee really lost a lot of credibility there. That remark of his only invited more suspicion over his potential ulterior motives here.
On top of all that, apparently Buzbee bought a billboard in 2014 trying to implore the Texans to draft Johnny Manziel. How do we know this? Because he reminded people about it on his Instagram account on January 26, 2021:
This is just comical. “Seven years ago I put ten billboards up around Houston asking my neighbor Mr. McNair to draft the greatest college football player ever.”
In one sentence, he completely disproved his own claims that he, A. doesn’t know who the McNairs are, and B. doesn’t follow the Houston Texans.
Buzbee destroyed his own credibility. If he’s lying about not knowing the McNairs, and he’s lying about not following the Texans, then what else is he lying about?
Buzbee is looking more and more like your classic sleazeball attorney from the movies.
“But!” people on Twitter say. “Why would the Texans intentionally slander Watson’s name?! It only hurts his trade value and means the Texans will get less in return for him! The Texans have no incentive to do this!”
Fair point. Makes sense. These allegations do diminish Watson’s trade value.
But what do we know about the Texans and their stance on trading DeShaun Watson?
Chris Simms reported nearly a month ago that the Texans aren’t even taking calls about DeShaun Watson.
They’ve dug their heels in. They’re intransigent.
They want DeShaun Watson in Houston as the quarterback. They don’t care about his potential trade value because they are not even entertaining the idea of trading Watson.
So maybe they’re intentionally trying to destroy his trade value so that he can’t leave them.
“Well, looks like you have to stay here in Houston with us because no other teams want you now, DeShaun.”
It’s like a psycho ex-girlfriend who pokes holes in your condoms so you can never, ever leave her. It would be easily one of the most outlandish and insane schemes ever hatched, but that’s what psycho ex-girlfriends do. They do psychotic, outlandish and insane things. They go to extraordinary lengths to make sure a guy that doesn’t want to be with them has to be with them.
Do I believe this is all made-up? A diabolical, psycho-ex scheme by the McNairs to either get revenge on Watson, or essentially force him to stay in Houston by completely destroying his trade value?
It’s hard to believe that. It seems far-fetched to me.
22 accusers is a lot of accusers. It’s no small thing for upwards of 25-30 people to conspire to carry out a fake, coordinated character assassination of a very famous NFL star QB.
Plus, if the McNairs and Jack Easterby and whomever else is supposedly behind this smear campaign ever got caught, it would be over for them. The McNairs would not only have to sell the Texans immediately, but everyone involved would be looking at jail time–and deservedly so.
Watson would be able to sue them for hundreds of millions of dollars–perhaps even billions–for defamation of character. He might well own the Houston Texans by the end of it all if it came out that they orchestrated a smear campaign against him.
If this is a massive conspiracy on the part of the McNairs, Buzbee and Jack Easterby, it’s as risky as it is evil. It would be a hare-brained scheme the likes of which are only conceivable in Hollywood movies.
I don’t know, man.
On the one hand, DeShaun Watson just doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would do this type of thing. Yet on the other hand, it’s pretty far-fetched to believe that a multi-billion dollar organization would orchestrate a vicious smear campaign just so DeShaun Watson can’t leave.
But given that we know this Buzbee character is not to be trusted, maybe it’s not so far-fetched…
I want to also add the disclaimer that it’s possible Buzbee is doing this on his own and is not in cahoots with the McNairs. Maybe he has an axe to grind with the McNairs–say, for not drafting Johnny Manziel–and he’s doing this to get revenge on them.
I have no idea. There are many possibilities here. It’s a bizarre story. It’s not “either Watson is guilty or the McNairs are in cahoots with Buzbee to smear Watson’s good name.” There are alternative explanations that I don’t have the time or the desire to get into.
But clearly Buzbee is lying about not knowing the McNairs or following the Texans.
If I were an intrepid, Houston-area reporter, I’d start tugging (no dirty massage pun intended!) on that thread. It might just unravel the whole sweater.