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BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson reiterated he never committed sexual misconduct and said he plans to keep fighting to clear his name.
Watson, who is facing civil lawsuits from 24 massage therapists in Texas accusing him of sexual assault and harassment during private sessions, on Tuesday stood by previous comments proclaiming his innocence.
“I never assaulted anyone,” Watson said following practice as the Browns held their mandatory minicamp. “I never harassed anyone or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”
Watson spoke for the first time since March 25, a week after the Browns signed him to a fully guaranteed $230 million contract despite his legal situation. Since then, his entanglements have grown with two more women filing lawsuits.
Deshaun Watson named in 24th lawsuit by massage therapists
A 24th woman filed a civil lawsuit Monday alleging sexual misconduct by Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is also awaiting possible discipline from the NFL.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him on criminal complaints.
“I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful about my stance,” he said. “I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That’s what I’ve been saying since the beginning and I’ll continue to do that until all the facts come out.”
The 26-year-old Watson is also facing possible discipline from the NFL, which has investigated whether he violated its personal-conduct policy. Watson, who could be suspended, said he was “open and truthful” with the league.
“I did everything they asked me to do,” said Watson. “I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me. That’s all I can do is be honest and tell them exactly what happened and I know they have a job and I have to respect that and that’s what we wanted to do is cooperate.”
By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer