Ep. 77 Deshaun Watson- Sexual Predator, or Just a Creep

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Welcome to, is This Legal? Here are your hosts, attorneys, Colin, McCallin, and Russell. Hebets,

Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Is This Legal? My name is Russell Hebets, and I am here with my law partner, Colin McCallin. Say hello, Colin.

What's going on everybody?

So, today, ladies and gentlemen, we're gonna be talking about the Deshaun Watson train wreck. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now, before we dive into this, anyone who is in their car or at home with small children, you probably want to shut this podcast off and go back and listen to our, one of our many others from our archives, cuz Hebets McCallin has lots that are appropriate. But this podcast features a lot of explicit sexual assault allegations, and it's probably inappropriate for those little

Ones. Earmuffs, guys. Earmuffs.

Yeah. So Little Jimmy, little Sally, um, earmuffs and go to bed. Yep.

So, um, yeah, this, uh, this, you, you mentioned train wreck. That, that seems kind of like what it is. This is certainly an ongoing, uh, saga right now going on with the Deshaun Watson. Uh, super quick about who this guy is. He is the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns,

And he has, he is not just the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. He has been for the past several years, a pro bowler. He is a three time pro bowler. He, in his seasons with the Texans who he left, he led them to back to back division titles in 20 18, 20 19. And in 2020 he led the entire league in passing yards. Yeah. So this guy is an NFL superstar.

That's right. Right. I think he won a title with Clemson too. Uh, he did in, uh, went in his n ncaa a a career before he went pro. So

He won a national championship there.

This isn't just any other football player.

Right. And so in 2021, he actually set out the whole season, um, with the Texans. In 2021, he told the Texans he wanted to be traded. And shortly thereafter, starting in March, a rash of women came forward alleging sexual misconduct. That's right. And, and this was, this was a lot of women according to the, these were all massage therapists, right, Colin?

Well, um, some of them were, it turns out not a lot of 'em had licenses. Right. And not a lot of 'em were actually massage therapists, but nevertheless, there were, uh, a lot of women that he had contact with over a fairly short amount of time,

Dude. And, and these, these allegations came out, the bulk of them came out between March 17th and March 30th, 2021 that got up to 21 accusers. The, the number now is 25 24. Right. One of them dropped out, but, so a lot of these women are saying that there was these inappropriate sexual contact between them and Deshaun. Now, Deshaun originally said, yes, I've had a lot of different therapists. It was 40 over a five seasons. Okay. Which is a lot. But you break that down, it's actually not astronomical. Right.

But There was recently a New York Times article by Jenny VAEs. What did that article say,

Colin? So that just came out, uh, a little less than a week ago. And I mean, there's been ongoing reporting on all of these allegations, but I would, I would say that this was, uh, to use that favorite word, this was a bombshell report, uh, by the New York Times that for the first time indicated that Deshaun Watson, uh, sought out at least 66, uh, female masseuses over the course of a 17 month period. Which rough math there, Russ. That a that, that works out to about a new masseuse a week. All of them are female.

That is an astounding number right there. And thank you for doing rough math, cuz that's the only math I do. <laugh> <laugh>. So, so no, no smooth math here. <laugh>. So, so,

So I'm like, what math, like a baby's bottom.

<laugh>. So we're gonna be talking about potential criminal charges and criminal liability. We're gonna be talking about his Deshaun Watson's civil liability. We're gonna be talking about what Deshawn's saying and what his lawyer, rusty Harden in particular is saying.

Yeah. Wait till you hear. Get a load of that. That's interesting. We're

Gonna be talking about his current team, the or his prior team, the Texans, his current team, the Browns and the NFL in general. And then we're gonna give you our take on all of this. That's right. Buckle up guys. It's gonna be a fun ride.

Yeah. We're already going at least 80 miles an hour, feels like. So let's speed it up a little bit. So, um, Russ, let's, let's get back to it. I, I, I, uh, heard in your introduction you talked about, uh, civil cases and criminal cases. Uh, we're a couple criminal defense lawyers. Right. Why don't we start with the criminal stuff first. Is, is Deshaun Watson currently charged with a crime?

He is currently not now. He was, there were two separate counties that looked into criminal charges against Deshaun Watson. Um, the county then encompasses Houston, looked into, um, nine separate criminal complaints against him for sexual misconduct of some sort. And then B, area County, which is just south of Houston, had one additional accuser that, and these all went to grand juries.

And just to talk a little bit more about the nature of the allegations, frankly, there is a wide range of alleged conduct that Deshaun Watson was engaged

In here, or misconduct.

Misconduct. Thank you. Um, I mean, here, here are some of the categories. There are indications that he would attempt to fondle some of his female masseuses, uh, that he, where he would actually come right out and solicit, uh, an invitation for a sexual act like oral sex. A couple of women indicate that he, he begged for oral sex and in some cases actually received oral sex. Uh, there are allegations that he fondled himself were masturbated in the presence of these masseuses many allegations where he is completely nude to during all of, well, not all, but during many of these massages.

Well, and not just nude, nude to the discomfort of the masseuse. Right. Where she asked him to cover up. Right. And he allegedly refused. Yep. And you know, you're talking about masturbation. There's one, the one allegation that went to, um, the county south of Houston, that one, that allegation was he actually and part of his semen ended up on her arm and hand.

Yeah. So, you know, there's other stuff. I mean, there's an allegation that he, uh, gave an owner of a massage parlor, $5,000 for, uh, air quotes, new spa equipment. And, and, and it turns out that, you know, this woman gave him access to her female masseuses, four of which are currently suing him.

Well, I I think that money did go to new, new stuff. Oh, I think it did. It's just like, did he do that out of the kindness of his heart or because he was using her like a mad madam Madam

Exactly. Kind of flirts with prostitution. Right. And then, you know, there's another allegation where he, uh, solicited a massage from a woman and, and, uh, purchased 30 bottles of a $40 cleanser. So $1,200. Let's, let's do some

Rough, oh, that smooth math. That was smooth math right there. <laugh>.

Yeah. So more smooth math for you. So he pays her $1,200 in skincare products and ends up, you know, soliciting this woman for sexual contact.

Well, I mean, maybe he just had a mean case of eczema.

He, I mean, those football players, you know, they gotta take care of their skin.

They're out in the elements solve themselves.

They're in the commercials. Although I don't know if he's doing any commercials right now. I don't think he will be doing any commercials. Right. <laugh>. Right.

Probably not. Well, Nike already dropped them. Right. Um, yeah. So, so, so these, these went to grand juries. Right. Okay. So all of these, presumably the grand jury, we've talked about grand juries on prior podcasts. And you know, the, the famous saying that we talked about then is you can indict a ham sandwich. Right.

And, and what we're saying there to remind, uh, we, again, we, we covered this in our podcast, but the role of the grand jury is to determine whether or not there's probable cause for a charge to go forward for a criminal charge to go forward. Right. Okay. And, and if they decide, yes, there's enough evidence, that just means you are now charged with a crime, it still has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. You're still entitled to the, uh, presumption of innocence. So this is basically a charging decision that this grand jury has whether or not to charge him with, uh, illegal activity or not. Right. Russ, tell us about what happened.

Yeah, so the two grand juries who were empaneled and the da like always presents evidence. And so I'll, I'll get to the end. The spoiler is neither grand jury returned indictments. And what that means is they looked at the charges and they said, we don't even have probable cause to go forward. Now remember, in a criminal case, it's proof beyond a reasonable doubt at a jury trial. But like Colin just alluded to, it's a lower standard at that grand jury. They said they don't even meet that, that lower standard to even file the case. Right. Okay. But there was something unusual about this grand ju these both of these grand juries. Yeah.

And, and this is something that came out in the New York Times reporting, uh, but it certainly raised an eyebrow for Russ and I. But, uh, it turns out that the prosecutor who was handling the grand jury, at least one of the grand juries, had a lot of contact with Rusty Harden, who is the lawyer for Deshaun Watson. And the reason that that's noteworthy is because grand jury proceedings are typically held in secret. Okay. If, if you are the subject of a grand jury investigation, you may not even know that you're under investigation. These are very tight-lipped operations, and the person who controls the flow of information in the grand jury proceeding is the prosecutor. And the prosecutor only, of course, they're working with law enforcement, but what what they're doing is they're presenting, um, you know, witness testimony to this grand jury for their consideration. Um, the defense attorney or the defendant are not participants in this type of a hearing generally.

Right. Generally now, it, there's nothing against it. It's not illegal to have the defense or the defense attorney to participate. But is it it is extremely uncommon. You know, Colin and I have handled lots of grand jury cases, and sometimes we will know they're going on. More often it's client comes in and says, Hey, I, I think I'm under, I I just found out I have a grand jury indictment. Right. Against

People I know. Were subpoenaed to testify. Right. In a weird proceeding. Yeah, exactly.

Right. And they have no idea. But, you know, once in a while we'll have a little bit of contact. But this, especially with Harris County, that's where nine of these counts were. The prosecutor, like Colin said, had extensive communication with the attorney for Deshaun. Tell us about this guy,

Colin. So, his name is Rusty Harden. He's a longtime criminal defense attorney in the Houston area. He's represented other high profile people. He's represented Joel Osteen. Um, you know, he's, he's, he represented Roger Clemens in some legal action at some point. And the reason that we're talking about this, and we're kind of wondering about it, is we believe that this, this case would be a very, very difficult prosecution for really any prosecutor. We're gonna talk about this as we go on, but really the line that Deshaun Watson is walking here is really teetering on is this criminal versus is this just a guy acting inappropriately? Um, you know, it, it's, it's not, there's no smoking gun that indicates that like a sexual assault actually happened. Um, and, and so the reason this is interesting is Mr. Harden, the lawyer was allowed to actually create a slide presentation and the prosecutor agreed to show this to the jury. That is evidence of showing why he shouldn't be

Charged. And that's called a grand jury packet. Yeah.

But they're very rare, Russ. I mean, most of the time a prosecutor is showing, you know, the, the nature of their charges, the, the, the strengths of their case. They're not really used to showing like their weaknesses. They're not showing the possible defenses that are mounted. And we're wondering if the prosecutor just didn't want to deal with this case, whether they kind of whitewashed the panel. That's a, that that's a, a slogan that we use indicating where they're like, they wanted the jury to not charge. So they were selective in the information that they were showing to the grand jury.

And, and I think in this case, that's likely, now I'm not saying at all that he's guilty criminally wh and that they acted that they, you know, buried evidence. Right. But what I am saying is this was tough prosecution. And if a DA is looking at this tough prosecution with a man who at the time was very popular in the community, right. I mean, I didn't, I didn't talk about this in my intro, but Deshaun Watson has a history of philanthropy. Oh yeah. I mean, he, he got his first paycheck with the Texans and donated it to three cafeteria workers at the stadium who were impacted by the hurricane. Absolutely. You know, and then as recently as February of 2021, he went back to Gainesville, Georgia and donated and fed 10,000 people. You know, so this guy is, at the time, pretty well loved in the community. So you have a DA who has a guy who's well loved in the community, who has significant proof issues Right. On at least criminal culpability on these allegations. And you know, this da probably like Colin said, if he doesn't think that this is, uh, an easy prosecution, or maybe he doesn't even believe it's a just prosecution, he's, he has the ability to basically shove it off on the grand jury, present what he wants, and then the grand jury comes back without an indictment and he says, Hey, a grand jury looked at

It. I presented this. Exactly. Right. No, we won't ever know what was presented to the grand jury, Russ. All of that stuff is secret. Uh, so we're, we're, we just kind of have to assume that that was all handled above board, I

Suppose. And I have one really kind of, uh, I, I think it's a fantastic aside. So the Harris County Grand, uh, DA was the one who had the nine counts. The, uh, county south of Houston was the one that had one count. You know who the DA was on that case? Tom Sellek.

It's really <laugh> Vm

Sellek. I assume it's a someone with the same name, but I mean, it's pretty fantastic.

That'd pretty, pretty amazing. If the Night Rider, no, that was, I was gonna say Night Rider. That's David

Hasselhoff, right? No, no, no. Tom Sellek, you know, he drove up

Probably Magnum

Pi. Thank you. Magnum Pi. He drove up in his Lamborghini. Okay.

I knew he had a nice car. <laugh>, right? <laugh>. Yeah. Probably a different Tom Sellek. Um, okay, so we've talked about the criminal charges. Now let's, Russ let's talk about the civil cases. Cuz those are very much alive and well, right? Yes. We currently have Deshaun Watson, he's the subject of a lawsuit of 24 lawsuits right now. Again, three were added, I think in the last, uh, couple of weeks. Um, and, um, I guess this is essentially what he is saying through his lawyer, his defense, the whole time has been, look, I have done nothing wrong. Um, I categorically deny any wrongdoing. Um, none of these allegations are true. Okay? But it does not categorically deny sexual contact. That's correct. And, and, um, he, he's indicated on the record that, uh, he did have consensual sexual contact with three of these women. Um, and, uh, he's, he's not denying that, but he's saying that really all of the other allegations against him are false. Now, um, right before, just four days before this New York Times piece came out on June 7th, um, rusty Harden, uh, again, Deshaun Watson's attorney was on a radio show being asked about all of this stuff. And Russ and I want to talk about, uh, a, a coup a few statements that he made in this radio show. Um, why don't we pause here, we'll take a listen to what Rusty Harden said, uh, and then we'll come back and talk about it. This is courtesy of Houston Sports Radio six 10 in Houston. Here's Rusty Harden.

I don't know how many men are out there now that have had a massage that perhaps occasionally there was a happy nanny. Alright. Maybe there's nobody in your listing audience that ever happened to. I do want to point out, if it has happened, it's not a crime. Okay. Unless you are paying somebody extra or so to give you some type of sexual activity, it's not a crime. And so at the end of the day, uh, that's another thing that would reflect con doing something or saying something or being a way that makes you uncomfortable is not a crime. And so we get two J Grand juries find that, and nobody seems to want to listen.

Okay. So that was Rusty Harden talking about this case. Now. Now let's talk about the actual content of that comment. Okay. What he said is true. Okay. That is not necessarily a, a happy ending, which for anyone out there who you know, is from different country and doesn't know that idiom, um, that's basically, uh, the masseuse masturbates the person who's receiving the massage or oral sex or something like that at the end of massage, something that's happy <laugh> at the, at the end. And so, so that's what he's talking about. And technically, it's true. If you get a happy ending from your masseuse, and you did

Not contract for that, you didn't pay extra, you didn't ask for it, you didn't say, how much is a happy ending, then in that scenario, that is presumably just consensual sexual encounters and it's not criminal.

Right? So that's strictly saying, but why in the hell is he talking about this at all? <laugh>? I mean, this, this, to me, I I think this is a little bit of a misstep on his part because, um, and he actually did take some criticism for it. But why is he talking about, well, it's not illegal to make someone uncomfortable at the end of a massage. It's not illegal to receive a happy ending. It seems to me that he was acknowledging that his client was engaged in inappropriate behavior. Um, and this is, I I I, I, again, I don't know why he felt the need to address this, uh, in such a weird way.

Well, it smacks of desperation, right? Because even if what he said is technically true, well, it sure doesn't smell good, right? I mean, it, it sure, it's got a little whiff of Yorkie Funk

<laugh>. That's our Johnny De listeners will get that reference <laugh>. Yeah. But that's, that's exactly right. Um, I don't think that needed to be said, Russ. I don't, I I don't know why he's talking about it, because now we're talking about it and we're sitting here wondering, oh, okay, well, how many times did Deshaun Watson want a happy inning? How many times was he pressuring or coercing a young, uh, masseuse who's all alone? This, this high powered superstar quarterback? You know, w was he getting these things on a regular basis?

And the only, the only answer that I can come up with is he knew the New York Times piece was gonna drop. You're talking

About Rusty Harden knew. Yes.

I'm talking about, yeah. Rusty Harden knew that more information essentially was coming out and he was trying to get in front of it.

I'm not sure he did the best job there. But let's move on, uh, to the Houston Texans, because Tony Busby has actually, just in the last week, Russ added the Houston Texans to all of these lawsuits. We need to talk about why. Well, he's making them a defendant in this

Case. Right? And we haven't mentioned him. Tony Busby is the person who's representing all of these women in the civil suits. That's right. So he is representing, I think, all 24 women. And so he just added the Texans, and we think he added them in response to this New York Times article, which had some new information about the Texans. Right.

For the first time, the Texans as an organization have been brought into the fold in terms of what did they know about what Deshaun Watson was doing with these female masseuses.

And, and at this point, the Texans are like, man, I was almost out clean. I know. Like, we got rid of them.

They traded them way,

We got some good stuff for him, <laugh>. And now we're, I keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in. Yeah. That's a Godfather three reference for anyone out there who's wondering.

So, uh, why is Tony Busby bringing in the Houston Texans? Well, there were two pieces specifically that came out in, in this New York Times article. The first is that a guy named Brent naca, who is the head of Houston Texan security, former Secret Service agent, this guy apparently supplied Deshaun Watson with an n d a, uh, with the intention of saying, Hey, you can use these non-disclosure agreements to make your masseuses sign so that they can't talk about what happens behind the closed doors of the massage

Parlor <laugh>. And so, NDAs or non-disclosure agreements in general are pretty common in NFL clubs and pro sports,

Because you're really famous people in general, right?

Yeah. You know, exactly, because you have these, you know, an nfl you have oftentimes these kids who are suddenly making tens of millions of dollars and, you know, they can be exposed, they can be taken advantage of by people who are, you know, just looking for a quick payday. So this, this, however, the use of an N D A with massage therapists is very unusual.

Well, thi this is off the charts weird, Russ, in, in a number of different respects. Here are the questions that immediately come to my mind. Okay, first of all, uh, did this head of security, I mean, this guy isn't just walking around handing out NDAs, right? Presumably he must have known some reason or had some reason to provide this to Deshaun Watson. That makes, that's, you know, that's, that makes me wonder what's

Going on. Well, and I, I think the answer to that is one of these women threatened to out him, right? One of these women basically said something to the effect of, you know, I have a lot of information about you being a creep. Right? Right. And I could easily, you know, come out with this. Now she didn't, she didn't ask for anything, so she wasn't trying to extort him. Right. But I think it was in response to that.

Yeah. I mean, there, there, there are more questions that come to mind though too on this, Russ. Like, do you think that the head of security might have wondered, well, gosh, why are you getting all of these massages from all of these people, some of whom don't even have massage therapist degrees when we literally right next door here, have professional paid training staff that you can go see anytime you need physical therapy, occupational ar what, whatever you need. It's in our facility.

I mean, best in the world. Right? Right.

You know,

Like, these, these are the best massages you could get in the world in N F L locker

Rooms. Not to mention why are you seeking so many different massages? I mean, Russ, I don't like, I, I go see like a barber and he's like my guy <laugh>. And once I find my guy, I'm not gonna go anywhere else. Like, I, once I find someone who gets the job done right, I am not gonna go anywhere else. I am really curious as to why these people are like, what, what are you doing? Why not, lemme take advantage of you in house folks here.

I mean, you, you don't get curious about like what the next barber will do. I mean, for anyone who's certainly for, for anyone who has seen a picture of Colin, there's not a lot to cut up there.

So. Yeah. Well, I'm totally bald and I'm actually my own barber now. So I, in truth, I have found my guy, guy, it's me. I'm not gonna switch anywhere

Else. I'm very happy with him.


I give him a good tip every

Time. I think you're catching mad drift though. You know, like, yes. What, what, what is, and, and like, so they didn't, they, they were, they, I'm just curious, but they're like, yeah, here's, here's a bunch of NDAs. Go have at it to Sean. Don't tell us what you're doing <laugh>. Well,

Right. And that's, and that's a problem. But it's not the only problem for the Texans, Uhhuh <affirmative> because what they also did is, what else do we got? They got him a membership at the Houstonian, which is a hotel dining area. It's a private club. And the Texans bought him a membership and allowed him to use that membership for, I mean, he dined there, but he also used hotel rooms for these massages Right. That the Texans were paying for.

Yeah. So he would set up, uh, massage appointments with these random 66 women to come meet him at the hotel, and the room was set up by one of their athletic, athletic trainers using their name. Right. So the Houstons are the, the Houstons, the, the Texans are in bed with this guy, whether they like it or not, whe whether they traded him or not.

Right. And it's, and it's a question like, how much did they know? Right, exactly. Did they think that, well, this woman's threatening to out him, we think she's going to escalate it and it's unfounded and we're just trying to protect our guy. Um, you know, do they have explanations? How much did they know? And we don't know,

But we, yeah, we don't, we have no idea. Right. We're we are just kind of spitballing this thing out, talking about it. But I mean, obviously Tony Busby felt there was enough information based on what whatever investigation he did, as well as this New York Times article where he needed to name them as a defendant. Not good for the Texans,

Not good for the Texans, but they have, the Texans have far less exposure or screwed up far less presumably than the Browns did.

Right. The, the Cleveland Browns, I mean, we gotta talk about the good old Cleveland Browns. Russ, let, let me first say, I mean, uh, I feel bad for the Cleveland Browns. This is a, uh, this is a beleaguered N F L franchise. Um,

They're like my Lions Yeah. <laugh>. They're like my lions. You're like, no, no championships. Right?

The modern era era. Lion lions are trending upward, though. They got a good coach. I, they, they're, they, they didn't have the best of year last year, but I think they're trending up.

The Browns were until

This Yeah. I mean the, you know, the Broncos that, that's my team. Um, you know, we had a pretty good off-season. We signed Russell Wilson coming off our Peyton Manning Glory days. I mean, uh, the poor Browns though, uh, they've never won an NFL title. They're just always kind of in a perennial stage of suckiness. And now they're dealing with this. So, um, you know, a lot of teams were very interested in Deshaun Watson, cuz we've had, if we haven't mentioned it yet, he's, turns out he's a pretty good football player and the Browns desperately want to go to the Super Bowl. Right? So they, they were one of the suitors going after Deshaun Watson, and they were the lucky team that landed and maybe unlucky, depending on how this all plays out. But, uh, they offered him, Russ, going back to March after the grand jury cases were dismissed, they offered him a 230,000,005 year deal, all of which is guaranteed. It, it was a record break, record breaking deal. Um, no one has ever gotten that amount of guaranteed money in the N NFL in its history.

And, and it was, it was actually, I believe it was after the first indictment came back without any indictment. So that was the nine charges. They didn't even wait for the second one to come back. So there was still one outstanding at the time. And remember, all of these civil cases are still there, right? Right. Now, there were other teams, like you said, I mean, the Dolphins were super interested in this. And the Dolphins, they went ahead and said, no, we're not gonna move forward. And it was presumably because of all this baggage that was going around now, now the Browns, they said that they did all the right things. So here's, I'm gonna read to you the Browns statement, the team statement they met, they made after signing Deshaun when everyone knew he had all this unresolved, all these unresolved sexual misconduct claims. The Brown said the team spent a tremendous amount of time exploring and investigating the opportunity to trade for Deshaun Watson. The franchise had done extensive investigative, legal, and reference work over the past several months to provide us with the appropriate information needed to make an informed decision about pursuing him and moving forward with him as our quarterback. The Browns clearly did not know the information that was in this New York Times article.

Well, this is interesting, Russ, because I actually watched the press conference where they introduced to Sean Watson to like the Cleveland media and the national media, as you know, ki be one of the Cleveland Browns. I've seen many of these press conferences. We just got our own as a Bronco fan. Uh, this summer when we saw Russell Wilson come to town, it was this really cool event. You know, they were following Russell and his wife Ciara around, they're go touring hospitals. He's getting to know Denver. We saw this with Peyton Manning when he came to town. Russ, when I watched the, uh, YouTube clip of the press conference where the Cleveland Browns are introducing to Sean Watson, it had the feeling of a funeral <laugh>. Yeah. First of all, everybody was wearing black <laugh>. That's one thing. But then, you know,

Why was everybody

Wearing, was wearing suits, black suits. Okay. And then, but like, like all of the question, like, you know, the, the, the in the player introduction, stuff like that, uh, you know, the, the head coach, the gm, they were just very looking, very concerned, very somber. Um, and all of the media questions weren't related to Deshaun Watson, the football player. They were concerning, uh, Deshaun Watson, the possible sexual offender and what the Browns were gonna do about it. Whether, whether or not they were gonna anticipate a suspension from the N F L. And it turns out, Russ, we think that they are, um, waiting for some action for the nfl. What do we know about that? We, we, we

Know a lot about this. Yeah. I mean, not directly, but it's very clear because they, they structured this 230 million deal over five years. Right? Right. Two 30 million over five years. Do you know listeners out there what he has paid in year one of that five year

Contract this upcoming season? Yeah.

He's paid $1 million out of 230. So the other 2 29 gets split between the next four

Years, 46 million a pop, uh, starting next year and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. So why only 1 million, uh, this year, Russ? Ooh.

Ooh. My hands up. I think I know. I'll

Only see, I'm gonna call on you last time. I'll find Russ

Going. Yes. Yes. Um, they scheduled it that way, Colin, because they were hedging their bets and they were sure he was gonna get suspended for this sexual misconduct for the next season. That's

Exactly right. We're gonna talk about the NFL in just a second. But the reason that they're only paying their man, uh, this superstar quarterback 1 million next year is because we think that they're just anticipating, oh, he's gonna be suspended. This is a way for us to save money. Right. This is a way for Deshawn to save some money.

Right. Deshawn with that, with that one year suspension, if he gets that for $1 million, he's only gonna lose roughly. And this is rough math. $55,000 per game <laugh>, which, which out of a 230 million contract, that's pocket change.

Russ, this is unbelievable stink. This is such a bad look on your organization. We're basically, we, we are hedging our bets. We are gonna protect our money. We, we know and, and are still willingly bringing on a guy who's gonna be suspended possibly for an entire year. We're gonna make him the face of our franchise nevertheless, and just double down on him. Yeah. That's exactly what they're

Doing. They are just hoping that this blows over. And unfortunately it is. Thunderheads are doing nothing but building. Yeah. At

This point, I don't see this going away anytime soon.

Well, he's already having people hold up signs. There's a, it's already splitting Cleveland's fan

Base. Absolutely. I mean, I, I, I, I pay attention to this stuff. I, I, I go to social media to see what other teams are saying. I, you, you see Cleveland Browns fans claiming that they're gonna ditch the Browns for other teams. You know, I, I, I don't know. I think that this, the NFL I think in recent years has really, really tried to bring in more female, um, fans of the game. Right? This is gonna be a huge setback to that. I think, uh, you know, and I mean, even if you're a longtime Brown fan, you just love brown football. How do you feel about that? How does this make you feel? Is it, are you kind of cringing a little bit? Like, well, it's a tough one.

Here's something we didn't even bring up yet because the Browns said they did all this due diligence <laugh>, that they, they vetted this so completely. Right? But remember we talked about, um, Mr. Busby, Tony Busby, right? Who's representing all these women. The Browns did not reach out to Busby at all to talk to him or to any of these women about the allegations. In fact, it gets better. Colin, the general manager, Andrew Berry, general manager of the Browns, Andrew Berry says the team was advised by the franchise's lawyers not to reach out to the, at the time 22 plaintiffs. Wow. I mean, like, this is, this is like some National Geographic stuff where like they just watched, uh, an ostrich sticking his head in the sand and being safe for many predators.

Do what the ostrich is doing. <laugh>. Right. Be an ostrich, guys. Like,

If we don't know, it can't

Hurt us. Andrew Barry, this is the same GM who at the press conference said that he was comfortable with, uh, with the legal situation involving Deshaun Watson and, and where deshawn is as a human being as a man. Um, I don't know that, that

I wouldn't be comfortable if I knew that there was Yeah. How comfortable an elephant sitting in the other room, and I'm just not supposed to look behind me. How

Comfortable can you be with any of this? Meanwhile, right now, uh, as we speak, uh, Deshaun Watson is practicing in, um, what do they call it? OTAs, uh, that, that's an acronym for something I think like, uh, uh, I don't know, team drills that are voluntary. They're, they're doing, uh, preseason workouts, but he's, he's throwing, catching, well, throwing. He's a quarterback. Well, he's catching,

He's catching the little soft passes.

<laugh>, here's the fallback. But he is still on the team. This is all going. And the Cleveland Browns are just desperately hoping this is gonna go away.

So what, what can the NFL do here? Because we talked about the Browns. They're probably not gonna do anything here, right? Because they have the ability to internally suspend

Him. I do kind of wonder if they're gonna lev you suspension against him. Think so. I I, I I wonder if, the only reason I wonder that is because they would have some control over the situation. We've seen teams do this before. Yeah. We've seen teams say, okay, we, we feel really bad, bad about this. We're gonna suspend him for eight games.

Right. And they're, they're basically trying to guess what the NFL's gonna do to try to basically preemptively Exactly. Say, I'm taking responsibility. Don't do anything else. We have this handled in-house.

And then of course, the NFL can say, okay, games is enough. Or they can say, yeah, not nearly enough. Right. We want to take our own actions. So speaking of the nfl, like, uh, what, what role do they have upcoming with this? Because there have also been, um, I guess some pleas, um, for Roger Daigel, uh, Goodell to come out and just suspend Deshaun Watson to make sure he doesn't, uh, take the playing field. Let's first look at this in terms of, you know, what can he do? Well, all uh, players in the nfl, uh, are subject to the personal conduct policy. This was created in, uh, 2016 after a couple of other black guys that the N F nfl, uh, sustained. Um, in particular with regard to how they handled a couple domestic violence cases, I c I e Ray Rice. But anyway, um, this is the language out of the player code of conduct that I think Deshaun Watson, uh, should be worried about. And it reads like this, um, prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to the following assault and or battery, including sexual assault or other sex offenses conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and wellbeing of another person and conduct that undermines or puts the, uh, at risk the integrity of the N F L N F L clubs or N F L personnel.

So all of that could be in play here. Right? Yeah, you clearly, I mean, you have 24 different women who are saying his conduct made them feel uncomfortable, put them at risk. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, I mean, that alone is enough for goodell to have a reason to levy some sort of suspension. Exactly. So what he'll do, he's been holding off. Yeah. You know, and I think rightfully so. Yeah. Right.

Like, well, you've got articles still coming out about this <laugh>,

I mean Right. This is a fluid situation. Yeah. And, and he would look, he would look very silly if he did something as his final action and then new information came out and then all of a sudden people are just on him for being either too lenient or not lenient enough, because this is a very fluid situation. The one thing that we know right now is there's no pending criminal action. Okay. Right. So we take it out of, like, he's probably at this point, not, I mean, new information could always come out, but right now he's not under any criminal sit in indictments. So, you know, he's probably not going to be a sex offender. Right,

Right. Yeah. But, you know, it goes, for me, it kind of goes back to the fact that this guy's a quarterback in the league. Like if this guy were like a second string long snapper <laugh>, I, I, I don't know if we would have this type of attention to this case if, if this guy wasn't the, like, highest paid, uh, member of the National Football League. I don't know how, how, I mean, of course we should care about all these things, but would we, I don't know the fact, I mean, I come, I come back to this sentence conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL NFL clubs or NFL personnel. I mean, Deshaun Watson kids are walking around with Watson jerseys. Right? Right. I mean, this guy is a role model. Like, um, you know, quarterbacks in this league are on commercials there, out there, people know who this man is. He

He's a hero in communities. Exactly. And, and that, that does matter. Like if it's a second string long snapper, like you said, we wouldn't even be here because he would've been cut.

Right. <laugh>, you know,

I mean Yeah. Turns

Out it's, uh, hard to cut a 230 million product.

Right. It's a lot easier to take this position when you think you have a quarterback that's gonna take you to the Super Bowl.

Right. So we're expecting the N F L to sit back and watch they got three months until the regular season. I think they are gonna have to take action though. Yeah. I I I do not see Deshaun Watson playing in game one this year. That's, I'm willing to say that. Well,

Let me, let me ask you this, because I, I actually didn't see that. I knew that the civil trials are supposed to happen sometime this year. Do we have dates for those

Yet? I don't think we did. In fact, my research, I, I thought that it was, what I saw is that these civil cases may not reach conclusion until beginning of next year. Okay. Certainly not by the

Fall. So, and Goodell can't wait for

That. Yeah. I don't, I don't think he can. No. I mean, I think he's gonna act, he's gonna have to act at some point, but if I'm waiting, if I'm him, I'm waiting the last possible minute.

Well, and there is, he's got an open investigation going right now. Right. So he is presumably he's interviewing these people as long as Busby is okay with it. That's

Russ, that's a great point. Thanks for reminding me. You know, the N F L gets to conduct their own investigation right now. They can, they can piggyback off of whatever Tony Busby found. I mean, he can make his clients available for interview. Uh, he can presumably get some information from some of these DA's offices that were looking at him for criminal charges. Um, but he, he can do his own investigation and in fact has been doing his own investigation Right. Since Deshawn Watson was a Texan back in 2021, right. When these allegations first started bubbling up. So we shall see.

So, yeah, I mean, overall guys, like these allegations are serious, but they are, a lot of 'em are undermined by things like consensual sex that both parties agree were consensual after the fact. So there's, there's more than one woman who says, oh yeah, he did these things, but then, you know, I went back and gave him, agreed to give him another massage, and then another one, and oh, on the second or third one, we had consensual sex. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then we had consensual sex the time after that. You know, that undercuts by a lot the, these claims.

And those are thorny issues for certainly a criminal prosecution, even a civil, uh, lawsuit. Uh, that'll have to be overcome. So, um, you know, Russ, look, uh, you and I are a couple of criminal defense lawyers last time I checked. I mean, we're not prosecutors. We believe that everybody charged with a crime is presumed innocent. Um, you know, so I guess, what are we doing talking about this at all, Russ? I mean, what, what would you say to the people who, who say, um, wait a minute, this guy has not been convicted of any wrongdoing whatsoever. These are mere allegations. Um, why is this man being publicly condemned the way that he is? Why are we even talking about suspensions?

So, I, I would agree to some degree with that sentiment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, I'm a firm believer that you're innocent until proven guilty. And like I said earlier, like, I'm not, I'm not saying the grand juries were, were, you know, fabricated or faulty. Um, not, no, no, no indictment findings. Right. But you're talking about a guy who's a public figure. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, to your point, and unfortunately public figures are held to a higher standard mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I do believe that people shouldn't be tried in the court of public opinion, uh, especially on criminal cases. But this isn't a criminal case anymore. Right. Right. There's, there's no pending criminal charges whatsoever. So now image does matter, especially like what you said, kids are walking around with his jersey and however unfair it might feel, you know, NFL's all about image. Right.

Well, Russell, let's go ahead and take off our lawyer hats for just a second. You're wearing that big, big sombrero. Why don't you take that off? I'm gonna take off this, this, uh, top hat that says lawyer right across the top. Let's put those

Down. God, we wish we had video at times like these for you guys, <laugh>. And, and we may start doing that <laugh>.

So, okay, so now that our lawyers hat are off, I mean, as consumers of the N F L, should we care about this? I personally do. I mean, I think, I, I think this is something, I mean, it's, it's kind of like the title of our podcast for us. I mean, at best, this is inappropriate, creepy behavior, right. At worst it could be criminal, sexual, uh, offending. Yeah. I mean, I mean, I think that we are, when, when you are out there, when you are being paid that kind of money, when you are the star of a franchise in the nfl, I mean, to an degree you are almost a willing participant in opening your life to the public. Should, does that get taken advantage of in certain situations? Of course it does. Um, or not justifying, but, but like you were just saying a minute ago, that's the reality of the world that we live in. Right? And so, you know, you can be mindful of a person's, uh, presumption of innocence with regard to having their liberty taken away. Right. But also, you know, that that doesn't mean that you be the Cleveland Browns, the ostrich's that we should call 'em, the Cleveland Os, ostrich's

<laugh>. We should get 'em, the Cleveland OSS <laugh>, I'm sorry, Browns fans. This

Is the perfect name for a time for a rebranding. Now, now is your time. Now the time <laugh>

It fits perfectly,


You know, yeah, no, exactly, because he, like, like we said, at best, he's a creep. I mean, and you can't have the face of your franchise buying $1,200 worth of skincare and then begging him masseuse to put her mouth on your penis. Right. You, you just can't do it. You know, whether it's criminal or not, it's creepy.

It, it really is. So, um, I think that's where we're gonna go ahead and end this discussion on Deshaun Watson. Um, obviously we are still gonna wait and see how this all shakes out. We will of course update you as we always do with our fluid, uh, cases. But now us, um, I don't know. I think, um, I, I just opened the door and I got a little bit of that, uh, that stupid wind, uh, breathing through the air. Some of that is,

Is there a dumb criminal around

<laugh>? I, I think I caught a whiff of one. Hang on. Let's see. D


O D, the dumb criminal of the week. Pretty much my favorite time ever. It's always a good time. And Russ, I've got a good one for you. I think, um, any requests on states,

I'm, I'm gonna request Texas this time. I feel like we haven't gone to the Lone Star state in a

While. Okay. Um, unfortunately I have to deny that request cause I already have one <laugh> and it doesn't happen in

Texas. This is not Texas,

But, uh, kind of close. We're in Alabama. Does that help?

Okay. I mean same, same general

Area. This is pretty funny. So Russ, as you're driving down the street, have you ever, have you ever ever seen one of those like police box speed trap things? It's on two wheels. It's got a big display showing you your speed and it has like really aggressive red lights if you're going over the speed limit.

I have. In fact, the last time I got a ticket, I drove past one and the cop said, well, you know your speed, cuz it was just on that big box right there. And I was like, yeah, okay.

To which you replied. Um, yeah, I'd like to see when that was last calibrated. I'd like to know whether or not the manufacturer's gonna be in court. And, uh, officer, if you don't give me, get me my way as fast as possible, I'm gonna sue you. Right. No, I

Just like that. I didn't say that, but I should've.

Well, darn. I can only wish. But anyway, uh, well these, these devices that we were just talking about, these trailers, okay, they are battery operated and that may matter to you, it may not, but it mattered to two guys by the names of Gabriel Mendoza Garcia and Steve Jerome Spawn. Couple of Alabama folks who saw an opportunity, Russ, they, they, they saw one of these trailers and they're like, oh man, there's a battery in there. I'll bet we can sell that for some dough. Let's make some quick cash. So what do they do? Uh, they go over to it. They hook it up to their truck and they, uh, drive it home. How do we know that they did that?

Russ? They they hook up the truck or the

They hooked up the trailer. The, the police

But not the battery.

Okay, well with the battery attached. Right, right. They were all of this steal the battery within, you know. Gotcha, gotcha. So they haul at home and uh, they're caught, uh, by the police very, very quickly. Uh, because you know why Russ turns out there's two cameras on this thing that, uh, caught these guys, you know, approaching the trailer, hooking it up, driving it home. And it also has a g GPS locator built in to pinpoint the exact location where these guys took the trailer. So, um, that's what we got. These guys, when they confess, they're like, oh well we wanted to sell the battery, see if we can make some money. That's what I got here. Russ, what do you think?

I mean, I think first of all, why don't you just take the battery <laugh>, like why are you hooking up these, this giant thing, which is clearly gonna be difficult to hide, right? Right. You want the battery take the bat. Cuz there's, I I guarantee there's no resale value for the whole speed trap thing. Like, no one's sitting there saying, you know what, I,

I need some like rich grandma wanting to buy one for like her front porch. Oh, just stop the horse speeders from going down the street

And stay off my lawn. Can

<laugh> and I can't hear anything because I'm deaf. You know? Yeah, you could, I could see that market being a

Big one. That person aside <laugh>,


Probably not a big market. So I think it's really stupid to steal police property in the first case. Like that's absurd to me.

Much less any police, uh, property that has multiple cameras on it. Right.

Right. I mean, you know, it has cameras because it's clocking people. Right. Like it's not doing this blind <laugh>. Right. So, I mean, geez, there's a lot of, lot of problems with this. Um, I'm gonna go ahead Colin and give them, uh, you know, I'm just gonna go all the way and give 'em

Five. Okay. I thought about this, I was totally on board with you. I was thinking about giving a five, but I'm gonna withhold one knucklehead, Russ, because at least they stuck it to the man <laugh>. At least they said, you know what? Not, not today. Satan. Not no speed

Trap for you today,

<laugh>. Oh, I like that. That, and they made me laugh so that, that also, right. I'll shave one knucklehead off, but a couple of idiots. Um, but I think that, uh, will do it for us. So, uh, in wrapping up, Russ, any final thoughts on Deshaun Watson? Anything else?

I mean, we'll keep you updated as to what happens. Check it. We, we encourage you to check out that New York Times article cuz it's really well done. Yeah, it's well written. It was well researched. So take a look at that if you're interested. That has a lot more details that we didn't go into. But in the meantime, you can find us on Twitter at is this legal pod, Facebook Habits McCallin. You can email us at Denver Crime and, um, Browns fans we're sorry. We really like your team. Yeah. And we're, you know, don't give us too much hate mail here. You know, we really hope it all works

Out for you. Exactly. Go. Broncos,

You've been listening to, is this Legal? See you next time