Over the past two weeks, the sexual assault allegations against DeShaun Watson have been one of the biggest stories in sports.
While over twenty women have accused Watson, none have pressed charges, leaving many to speculate on what the truth truly is.
But now some in the media think this one document is the smoking gun in the entire scandal.
The entire Deshaun Watson situation has been anything but normal.
From more than 20 masseuses accusing Watson of sexual assault through the exact same Houston based attorney to the lack of any real evidence of wrongdoing and other masseuses coming out to defend Watson, most of the general public doesn’t know what to believe.
It’s the prototypical he-said, she-said situation where neither side has so far appeared to be able to actually prove anything.
That ambiguity has left the media scraping to find something – anything – to report other than the fact that yet another civil lawsuit has been filed against Watson.
Which is exactly why some in the media were so excited when a local news station seemed to produce the potential smoking gun that could prove Deshaun Watson’s guilt.
Late last week, KPRC 2, an NBC affiliate in Houston, reported that Watson had previously sent a non-disclosures agreement to one of his accusers.
The news station obtained a copy of the alleged non-disclosures agreement, and reported that Watson had sent it to the accuser who then signed the document and returned it to Watson.
However, according to the outlet’s sources, when the accuser requested Watson send back a copy of the NDA, it was returned blank with only Watson’s first and last name typed in at the top.
While some in the media celebrated the revelation that Watson allegedly sent one of his accusers an NDA, some legal experts cast doubt on whether it actually proves anything, or if it is even legitimate.
“If you are an A-list celeb or a top jock, it’s not out of the question for you to want to keep your business off of social media,” KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said. “Most people might not think it’s common for someone to sign an NDA when they walk into a massage booth, but if you are an A-list celebrity or top athlete you want to make sure that what you do stays off of the 24-hour news cycle.”
At the same time, Wice also cast doubt on the idea that the NDA proves anything, saying “nothing stands out” about the document.
“With all due respect, it appeared to me that someone merely downloaded a standard non-disclosure agreement off of the Internet or maybe they went to NDAs R’ Us,” Wice said. “Nothing stands out about this NDA.”
Those who attempted to claim that the supposed NDA was in any way proof of wrongdoing on the part of Watson, seemed to miss the fact that the NDA provided to the news station was blank other than Watson’s name being typed in at the top.
As Wice alluded to, virtually anyone could have downloaded the document and put Watson’s name on it.
Furthermore, according to another accuser, Watson specifically told her that he wasn’t going to make her sign an NDA, contradicting the idea that he uses NDA’s to cover for anything he doesn’t want to become public.
14th lawsuit says Deshaun Watson told the plaintiff, "I will not have you sign a NDA but don't ever talk about this." pic.twitter.com/vSfoFAFeQw
— Kalyn Kahler (@kalynkahler) March 23, 2021
As unfortunate as it is for everyone involved, there is still nothing that proves either sides’ claim.
We still have no idea whether or not Deshaun Watson is guilty, or if this is all a coordinated effort by one attorney to secure a payday and publicity, as some have claimed.
And without any proof, there doesn’t seem to be an end to this saga coming anytime soon.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.