A 23rd woman filed a lawsuit against Deshaun Watson on Tuesday. According to ESPN reporter Sarah Barshop, the most recent plaintiff who filed a lawsuit against Watson “changed her mind about filing a lawsuit after watching the HBO Real Sports piece.”
The latest lawsuit has the NFL world wondering if it’ll affect how the league chooses to handle Watson’s situation.
On Wednesday’s episode of The Pat McAfee Show, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport provided an update on Watson’s status for the 2022 season.
“The hope would be to have something decided before training camp,” Rapoport said. “I believe that is probably going to happen. We’ll see if this 23rd [lawsuit] kinda delays things a bit.”
Rapoport then doubled down on his prediction, saying “I believe there will be some sort of disciplinary ruling for Deshaun Watson before training camp.”
This would line up with what Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin has been saying. He expects a decision to be made in the first half of summer.
“We should know what their position is initially sometime in June, and then everybody will figure out if there’s going to be a hearing about it or can people work things out, or whatever,” Hardin told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “The only thing that’s certain is that they want to try to get everything done this summer — and earlier than later in the summer. Past that, we don’t really have any firm dates or possibilities.”
Watson has already denied the accusations being 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,” Hardin’s statement reads. “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.”
Watson’s availability will certainly have an impact on the Browns’ chances of winning the AFC North this fall.