Nike made a decision on its endorsement of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on Wednesday morning.
Watson, one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. There have been 22 lawsuits filed against the Houston Texans quarterback, alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. Two of the women who filed lawsuits against Watson came forward publicly on Wednesday.
“I got into massage therapy to heal people,” massage therapist Ashley Solis said. “To heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride. … I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. I’m in counseling as a result of Deshaun Watson’s actions. I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on me emotionally and physically. And I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on these other survivors.”
Watson, meanwhile, continues to deny the allegations. His attorney issued a response to Tuesday’s press conference, claiming that money was a motivational factor for the lawsuits.
Nike has since decided to suspend its endorsement of Watson.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in a statement.
Nike has suspended its endorsement of Deshaun Watson, the company told @JabariJYoung.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.” pic.twitter.com/i6dNMb4G8r
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 7, 2021
This is the first serious step that has been taken by one of Watson’s endorsers. He remains a member of the Houston Texans, though the team is deeply concerned, as well.
“This is a pretty significant development—with the situation Deshaun Watson is embroiled in now leading to tangible loss for the quarterback,” NFL insider Albert Breer wrote.
This is a pretty significant development—with the situation Deshaun Watson is embroiled in now leading to tangible loss for the quarterback. https://t.co/7GjbFnAFOB
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 7, 2021
Watson played collegiately at Clemson, a Nike school, and has been sponsored by the brand in the NFL. He is one of the league’s most popular players.
Nike has informed Deshaun Watson that it is suspending its endorsement of him, putting their deal with him on hold at this time, as he contends with civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. @Nike
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 7, 2021
“Nike would be relying on a morals clause within its endorsement contract with Watson. Oftentimes, these clauses do not require arrest nor conviction to be applied,” sports business insider Darren Heitner wrote.
Nike would be relying on a morals clause within its endorsement contract with Watson.
Oftentimes, these clauses do not require arrest nor conviction to be applied.
I discussed morals clauses yesterday re: Paul Pierce’s early termination by ESPN: https://t.co/ENxrmgPKlB
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) April 7, 2021
Watson, 25, was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Clemson. He’s been a three-time Pro Bowler for the Texans, though he reportedly requested a trade this offseason.
However, it does not sound like there will be any football-related moves coming anytime soon.