Browns’ Deshaun Watson undergoes first meetings with NFL investigators: report


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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is meeting with NFL investigators this week to commence discussions on the 22 accusations of sexual assault and misconduct directed at the QB.

According to ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, “The first direct meetings between the #NFL investigative team led by Lisa Friel and #Browns quarterback De[s]haun Watson have begun in Texas. The league seeks to determine if he violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy and, if so, whether discipline should be imposed.”

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Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, left, new quarterback Deshaun Watson, center, and head coach Kevin Stefanski pose for a photo during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. 
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The NFL and Friel previously met with Watson’s accusers to discuss the allegations. Those meetings prompted two women, Lauren Baxley and Ashley Soli, to speak with Sports Illustrated about their respective experiences speaking with the League.

“My forensic interview [with HPD] was very respectful and trauma-informed,” Baxley said in the SI interview. “They let me speak uninterrupted, whereas with Lisa Friel and the [other NFL investigator], they would cut me off, they would question things, they would circle back.

Cleveland Browns new quarterback Deshaun Watson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. 

Cleveland Browns new quarterback Deshaun Watson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. 
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

“[T]hey were trying to trip me up. They didn’t, but they were really looking for the weaknesses that they thought they could exploit.”

Watson appeared for a pre-trial deposition last week and spoke on the allegations presented by Soli. He attested to reaching out after bringing her to tears during the massage session in question.

The Browns QB acknowledged the scene and admitted to reaching out with an apology.

Dec 15, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) walks off the field after warmups before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 15, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) walks off the field after warmups before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

“Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable. Never were the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies,” Watson said in his text to Soli.

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Watson sat out the entirety of the 2021-22 season, which the Texans, not the NFL, handed down.





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