As the attorney for the 24 women who accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct, Tony Buzbee has had a front row seat to everything that has happened in the case since the first lawsuit was filed back in early 2021.
From a football standpoint, the Watson situation finally came to a resolution on Thursday with the Cleveland Browns quarterback agreeing to a settlement with the NFL that calls on him to miss at least 11 games. Watson was also hit with a $5 million fine, which is the largest amount of money . Despite those punishments, Buzbee thinks the NFL let Watson off too easy.
In a scathing statement, the lawyer ripped Roger Goodell and the league for agreeing to a soft punishment.
"By settling this matter the way he has, Roger Goodell has proven one of two things: either his recent rhetoric was utter baloney, or his bark is much worse than his bite," Buzbee said in a statement to the media. "My belief is that he is nothing more than a paper tiger."
According to Buzbee, the weak punishment sends the wrong message to survivors of sexual assault.
"The message today to all victims is clear, if you believe you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and go away," Buzbee said. "The NFL has certainly demonstrated that its ownership and the organization doesn't care. To all sexual assault survivors, do not allow this recent 'punishment' to deter you. Keep speaking up and keep speaking out. Your voice matters. You are making a difference. We stand with you."
The settlement ends a long road for this case, which started all the way back in March 2021 when Watson was hit with a single civil lawsuit by a massage therapist who accused him of sexual misconduct. The total number of lawsuits eventually ballooned up to 24, although Watson did settle 23 of those cases over the past two months.