Apr 7, 2021 - Sports

Nike suspends Deshaun Watson endorsement deal amid allegations, lawsuits

Texans QB Deshaun Watson during a game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indiana in December 2020.

Texans QB Deshaun Watson during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, December 2020. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Nike on Wednesday suspended its endorsement deal with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faces multiple lawsuits and criminal complaints alleging sexual assault and harassment.

Why it matters: 22 women have filed civil lawsuits against Watson, accusing the athlete of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. Two of the women went public on Tuesday for the first time detailing their allegations.

What they're saying: “We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson,” Nike said in a statement, according to AP. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

The big picture: Beats by Dre has also ended its sponsorship deal with the quarterback, according to ESPN.

  • Houston police are investigating two criminal complaints against Watson, who has denied all wrongdoing.
  • One woman who spoke at the press conference on Tuesday said Watson "is my assaulter and my harasser, he assaulted me at my home doing what I love most, massage therapy."
  • Watson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has said that he believes "any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false."
  • The NFL announced in March it was investigating the allegations made against Watson as well.
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