Two women who have accused Deshaun Watson of inappropriate sexual conduct condemned the Cleveland Browns for giving the quarterback an NFL-record $230 million guaranteed contract after trading for him.
“It’s just like a big screw you,” Ashley Solis said of the Browns in an interview on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” which is set to air Tuesday night. “That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what we care about.”
Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to pursue criminal charges, and Watson has denied all wrongdoing.
But the NFL is investigating whether Watson violated its code of conduct policy, and interviewed Watson in person last week.
Despite the allegations against him, the Browns traded for Watson on March 18, sending the Houston Texans a trade package that included three first-round picks to complete the deal. The Browns then gave Watson a new five-year contract, worth $80 million more than the previous high set when reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers signed his extension with the Green Bay Packers earlier in the offseason.
Kyla Hayes, who, like Solis, has accused Watson of inappropriate sexual conduct, called the record contract the Browns gave Watson “sick.”
“I felt like he’s being rewarded for bad behavior,” she said in the HBO interview.
Leah Graham, one of Watson’s attorneys, told HBO that Watson has “no regrets because he did nothing wrong.”