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Deshaun Watson during a game against the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 3 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces 16 lawsuits in Harris County, Texas, from women alleging sexual assault and harassment, after two new suits were filed on Tuesday, the NFL announced.

Why it matters: Watson has been called a "serial predator," per a lawsuit filed Monday night. Accusers have called his behavior "part of a disturbing pattern," CNN writes, though the QB has denied the accusations.

What they're saying: Watson's lawyer Rusty Hardin said he believes "any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false," in a Tuesday statement, per the NFL.

  • "I want to emphasize at the outset that we and Deshaun recognize that sexual assault and harassment are not only unlawful, but morally wrong," Hardin said.
  • "We do not take these allegations lightly. However, fairness to the accused is equally as important."

Context: The NFL said last week it is investigating earlier lawsuits from three massage therapists who worked with Watson and accused him of sexually assaulting them during sessions.

Watson stated in a tweet last week that he "never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect" and looks forward to clearing his name.

  • Hardin claimed that a lawsuit brought by one of the women was only filed after a failed attempt to blackmail his client for $30,000.

Of note: All 16 women filed separate suits, but each is represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who has said that the legal action isn't about money since the women are suing for the least amount that can be sought in Texas civil district court, according to AP.

What to watch: Buzbee said in an Instagram post last Saturday he planned to submit affidavits and evidence from some of the women to the Houston Police and the city's district attorney, ESPN writes.

  • He added he intends to request a grand jury to weigh the evidence and assess whether charges should be brought against Watson by the state of Texas.

Go deeper

Biden administration reinstates fast-track deportation flights

Guatemalan immigrant Yamari Yaneli, 1, waits with her family for U.S. Border Patrol agents to transport them to a processing center. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday resumed fast-track deportation flights to Central America, the Department of Homeland Security announced.

The big picture: Officials said Monday that they were planning to resume "expedited removal flights" following an increase in the number of migrants crossing into the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, the Washington Post reports.

More corporations are requiring workers to get vaccinated

Graphic: Axios Visuals

Life for the unvaccinated could get more difficult as bosses increasingly move to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.

The big picture: The federal Government in May said that it is legal for companies to require employees to get vaccinated for coronavirus.

White House: Over 500,000 new shots recorded Friday, highest since July 1

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The United States recorded more than half a million new COVID-19 vaccine shots on Friday, the highest number since July 1, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Why it matters: The Delta variant is continuing to spread across the United States and it now comprises over 80% of the coronavirus cases in the country, Jean-Pierre said. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that "vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death."

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