$200m star’s sexual assault bombshell
Star NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson has denied allegations of sexual assault outlined in a lawsuit filed Wednesday (AEDT).
The bombshell allegations come with Watson being at the centre of the highest-profile trade negotiation of the NFL off-season, having demanded to be cut free from the $203 million, four year contract extension he signed with the Houston Texans in September.
Tony Buzbee, the Houston-based lawyer representing Watson's alleged victim, told Fox 26 in Texas that Watson was getting a massage from the unidentified woman when the 25-year-old "went too far."
Details surrounding the lawsuit are scarce.
Watson refuted the claim on Twitter on Wednesday after Buzbee made a social media post about the lawsuit.
"As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff's lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me," Watson wrote.
"I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I Have never treated any woman with anything than the utmost respect. The plaintiff's lawyer claims that this isn't about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected."
Watson added that he looked forward to clearing his name.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Buzbee said he was "extremely proud to represent those who have no perceived power against those who have PERCEIVED power."
"This case we just filed against Watson isn't about money - it's about dignity and stopping behaviour that should be stopped, NOW!" Buzbee said.
Watson, a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, is still under contract with the Texans for another five seasons.
Watson has a no-trade clause, which could allow him to dictate his next team.
It's not all one-way traffic, however, and ESPN reported last month the Texans have some leverage of their own.
The report claimed Watson can be fined by his franchise $50,000 for every day of training he doesn't show up for.
If he fails to turn up full stop without agreeing to a trade, Houston can demand up $21.6 million from the stud quarterback.
Miami, New York Jets and the New York Giants are reportedly the teams with the best chance of securing Watson's signature.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as $200m star's sexual assault bombshell