News of Nike’s decision was first reported by CNBC’s Jabari Young and has since been confirmed by multiple outlets.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said via statement.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 7, 2021
According to sports and entertainment lawyer Darren Heitner, Nike would be using a morals clause in its contract with Watson to justify suspending the relationship.
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
With Nike being the first to halt its sponsorship, it will be interesting to see if other companies involved with Watson do the same.
Watson currently faces 22 lawsuits from women accusing the Pro Bowler of sexual misconduct. On Tuesday, Ashley Solis, Watson’s first accuser, revealed her identity and spoke publicly for the first time.
Solis, a massage therapist, alleges that Watson assaulted her on March 30, 2020 during a therapy session at her home.
“I was afraid. I’m not afraid anymore. Deshaun Watson assaulted and harassed me,” Solis said.
The first woman to file a lawsuit against Deshaun Watson (seated to Tony Buzbee’s left) has identified herself.
“My name is Ashley Solis. Remember that name. … I was afraid. I’m not afraid anymore.” pic.twitter.com/gWqX6spFmv
— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) April 6, 2021
A second accuser, Lauren Baxley, also came forward on Tuesday and went public with her allegations.
Meanwhile, Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin claimed in a statement that Solis and her lawyer Tony Buzbee attempted to secure $100,000 in “hush money” before filing suit.
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