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Deshaun Watson. Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Deshaun Watson, already facing 21 civil lawsuits from massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct, is also now under criminal investigation by the Houston Police Department.

Catch up quick: The first lawsuit was brought against Watson on March 16. By March 31, the number had grown to 21, with all accusers seeking monetary damages for alleged incidents that took place between March 2020 and March 2021.

  • Watson's only public statement came on March 16, when he said on Twitter he has "never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect." Through his lawyer, Watson has continually denied any wrongdoing.
  • On March 31, Watson's attorney released a joint statement from 18 women defending Watson; all massage therapists claiming to have treated him over the past five years.

What they're saying: Another therapist — uninvolved in the current lawsuits — told SI (subscription) about her experience treating Watson in the fall of 2019, which she described as sexually inappropriate and unlike anything she'd experienced with other clients.

  • "The one thing I keep thinking about is, he's about to get traded to another place. ... He would have a whole new community of massage therapists to target."
  • "More than anything, the fact that he's denying all the allegations makes it more of a reason for us to use our voice and say what we have to say."

The big picture: Now that the police are involved in the wake of Friday's complaint, more pertinent information is likely to surface (subpoenas, testimony, etc.).

  • The NFL is performing its own internal investigation and will assess the situation as it unfolds. Even without criminal charges, the league could choose to suspend Watson under its Personal Conduct Policy.
  • The Texans may have grounds to void part of Watson's four-year, $156 million contract if legal proceedings force him to miss time. And if they're entertaining his trade demand, his value could be plummeting in real time.
  • Sponsors like Nike and Rolex must also determine if Watson still portrays an image in line with their brand.

Go deeper

Wildfires ravage communities in Northern California as thousands evacuate

Firefighters monitoring the scene as flames from the Dixie Fire jump across highway 89 near Greenville, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the town of Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County Wednesday night. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

The U.S. women's team celebrates during a game against the Netherlands on July 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Logan Beerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images

⚽: U.S. women's soccer team beats Australia, wins bronze

🥇: Ryan Crouser breaks his own Olympic shot put record to win gold for U.S.

🛶: U.S. teenager Nevin Harrison wins first Olympic women's canoe 200m

🏐: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 13 highlights

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

2 hours ago - Sports

U.S. women's soccer team beats Australia, wins Olympic bronze

The U.S. women's team celebrates during a game against the Netherlands on July 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Logan Beerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The U.S. women's soccer team won the bronze medal on Thursday after beating ninth-ranked Australia 4-3.

Why it matters: Thursday's victory marks the U.S. team's first bronze in Olympic history, handing the team a medal after it failed to earn one during the Rio Games in 2016.