Twenty-two girls have accused Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct. Two of the accusers, Lauren Baxley and Ashley Soli, defined their frustrations with the NFL’s dealing with of the investigation to Sports Illustrated this week.
Baxley and Solis informed Jenny Vrentas that they really feel the NFL was “patronizing” and “victim-blaming” them throughout their interviews with league investigators.
“This woman asked me what I was wearing, which honestly really pissed me off,” Solis says.
“She defined that that’s one thing that she has to ask—which I don’t imagine in any respect. I’m unsure what I’m alleged to be sporting that might counsel that I don’t need you to place your penis on my hand? Do I must put on a turtleneck?“
Meanwhile, Baxley says the NFL had actively appeared for weaknesses in her story:
“My forensic interview [with HPD] was very respectful and trauma-informed,” Baxley says. “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.”
“[They were trying to trip me up. They didn’t, but they were really looking for the weaknesses that they thought they could exploit.”
Sports Illustrated adds that the NFL declined to make Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney, the league’s investigators, available for interviews.
Baxley claims the NFL has failed her by allowing Watson to participate at Texans’ training camp.
“The NFL recently made it clear that they were taking a stand against women and survivors of sexual assault when they stated that Watson would be able to participate in team activities without restrictions, despite the dozens of women whose experiences and testimony prove a pattern of mental and sexual abuse,” Baxley goes on.
“Watson deserves a fair day in court. But the NFL and Roger Goodell have failed me. And they have failed the other women by choosing inaction.”
The NFL allows subjects of investigations to take part in training camp while the league assesses its options. However, Watson’s presence at training camp is a distraction to everyone. It’s not serving a purpose.
Because of the uncertainty of the investigation and his trade demands, Watson has received minimal reps in camp. And there’s the unavoidable awkwardness of a player accused of sexual misconduct by 22 — 22! — women are just hanging around. Finally, Watson is now lashing out the media:
Deshaun Watson walked by the media and asked: “Why are y’all always filming me every day. It’s the same sh—“ pic.twitter.com/f1EZlZOMY8
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 12, 2021
Baxley and Solis shared their encounters with Watson with Sports Illustrated, which followed similar paths. First, Watson reached out to both women on Instagram to book massage appointments, then during the massage — Watson began to direct them to his groin.
“Watson allegedly exposed his penis to her after asking Solis to work on his abdomen,” Yahoo Sports says. “When Solis asked Watson to readjust himself, Watson reportedly moved his erect penis into Solis’ hand.”
Because the sports media is afraid to criticize a black athlete too harshly in 2021, the NFL is under no pressure to act quickly on Watson’s actions. So it continues.