Deshaun Watson Attorney Rusty Hardin Says ‘Happy Endings’ Not Illegal, Confusing Many

NFL: Adrian Peterson-Arraignment
Oct 8, 2014; Conroe, TX, USA; The attorney Rusty Hardin at the Montgomery county courthouse for the arraignment of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While on SportsRadio 610, an Audacy station out of Houston, Browns’ Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s’ lawyer Rusty Hardin made some controversial comments regarding sexual acts to the show Payne and Pendergast.

Hardin first claimed that in two or three of the circumstances where women accused Watson of sexual assault, including oral sex, that it was consensual. The women have denied this. Hardin then stated, on the air, “I don’t know how many men are out there now that have had a massage, that perhaps occasionally there was a happy ending. I do want to point out, if it has happened, it’s not a crime. Unless you are paying somebody extra or so to give you some type of sexual activity, it’s not a crime.”

The comments came under fire because sexual acts in the context of a paid for massage are in fact illegal under Texas law and in states across the country. Oftentimes, they constitute prostitution. In fact, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was once arrested on solicitation of prostitution charges after a spa he frequented was raided in an undercover police sting, where happy endings were suspected. The charges were ultimately dropped against him.

In Watson’s case, if a sex act did take place during a paid for massage, it could be unlawful if proven, even if it was consensual, due to the fact that the massage was a service and not purely a consensual sexual encounter.

Happy endings by definition, do usually take place in the context of, and at the end of a paid for massage. Hardin’s confusing comments set off a firestorm of headlines, prompting Hardin to walk back and clarify his comments.

Hardin released a statement saying, “On a Houston radio show interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a “happy ending” is not illegal, meaning it is not illegal for someone to have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage unless the sex is for pay,” Hardin said. “Deshaun did not pay anyone for sex. I was using the term hypothetically and not describing Deshaun’s case.”

It seems Hardin was confusing his terminology and meant that consensual sexual acts after a massage are not illegal. He seemingly did not understand that the term “happy ending” typically refers to a sex act during a massage as a service.

The controversial comments, prompted many hosts, including WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts to suggest that Hardin stop talking publicly as it was not helping Watson, especially in light of the fact that two Grand Juries decided not to indict Watson.

“At some point you won,” Carton said, “There is no criminal proceeding here. Two Grand Juries said ‘we are not gonna indict.’ Dude, walk away happy, without the ending,” Carton suggested.

As of today, Watson has 23 accusers. There are reports that there is soon to be a 24th lawsuit filed. Watson and his legal team have adamantly maintained his innocence in all cases.

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