Watson Accusers Rebuke Six Game Suspension, as Their Attorney Calls Adam Schefter “Hurtful” and a “Loser”
After the announcement came out that the National Football League filed an appeal on the six-game suspension of quarterback Deshaun Watson, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represented twenty-four of Watson’s accusers held a press conference.
“We believe the elected District Attorney failed these women. It was frustrating but it was expected. There are more than 463,000 incidents of sexual assault in the United States each year. 70 percent of those are never reported to the police. Less than 1 percent of those ever lead to a conviction.”
During the press conference, Buzbee went after ESPN’s Adam Schefter calling him a “so-called Insider” and claiming Schefter has “never” spoken to Buzbee throughout covering the Watson case. Buzbee showcased a blown up cardboard version of a tweet Schefter had made when news broke that Watson would not be facing charges.
The tweet read: “This is why Deshaun Watson from the beginning welcomed a police investigation. He felt he knew that the truth would come out. And today, a grand jury did not charge him on any of the criminal complaints.”
“These kind of tweets, this kind of foolishness is exactly why people do not pursue Justice,” Buzbee said.
On his Instagram account later in the day, Buzbee called Schefter a “little guy” who “thinks he’s important in his little lame ass bubble,” saying Schefter is “hurtful and a f***ing loser.”
Buzbee addressed the NFL’s disciplinary process, calling it a “juggled mess.” “It has been so inconsistent in the past that it’s hard to take it seriously,” he said. “And worse yet, everyone knows that the NFL’s record on women’s issues is sketchy and sad.”
Buzbee said he and his clients were open and cooperative with the NFL and spent hours in NFL interviews. He says NFL investigators insisted on knowing what the women were wearing and spent too much time deep diving into the victims, instead of the allegations. He called them aggressive, hostile and uninterested in the victims stories.
An entity investigating one of its own, or investigating itself, is done by design, Buzbee said. But nevertheless he said he still made ten of the twenty four women available to the NFL.
“We would’ve made more available but the NFL wasn’t really interested in talking to them.”
He said the NFL rejected written sworn statements and didn’t ask his clients to testify at the three-day arbitration hearing nor inform them about anything at the process. He said none of the accusers were involved in the arbitration process in any way.
Buzbee went on to say the NFL bungled these allegations and never expected much.
“Even when you know you’re gonna be slapped in the face, that slap still hurts, that slap still stings.”
Buzbee read the reactions to the six-game suspensions from his clients. The statements were anonymous.
One woman wrote:
“Six- games isn’t even a slap on the wrist, it’s a kiss on the cheek.”
“They did not really investigate because they don’t care… they don’t care if women or people are abused.”
“It’s been made clear to me…we do not matter to the NFL.”
“This decision makes me feel defeated… when I was interviewed with the NFL it made me feel like an interrogation, asking me the same questions over and over, hoping I would fumble the story.”
“All they wanted to do was sanitize the situation and normalize the behavior.”
Another said in part, “I feel like we are invisible.”
Watson’s first accuser Ashley Solis took the podium and read her statement. She claimed she has received multiple death threats and thousands of people say terrible things about her on the Internet. She called the whole ordeal emotionally draining and said she couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror, despite some people telling her she should be proud for speaking up. Solis said the statements of support that she received by people she inspired and helped, enabled her to be less depressed.
“I’m here today and have been here for all the little girls, women and humans in general who have ever felt that they didn’t have the power to speak up. You do have that power and you should,” Solis said.
“What do the actions of the NFL say to little girls who have suffered at the hands of someone perceived to have power? That it’s not a big deal? That they don’t care? Tough shit? That’s what I’ve taken from their actions. So instead, I’ll let my actions say something different to those same little girls. No matter how scary, big or powerful someone may seem, they are just humans and like all humans, we all have the right to have our voices heard.”
“I recognize that it’s hurt people who hurt people. I recognize that the people who I decided to speak out against, are just humans and I’m no longer scared of them. I no longer fear that power because I understand and I realize that I have even more power.”
Solis ended with this advice:
“So, if anyone has ever tried to abuse their status and overpower you, remind them that they picked the wrong one to try that with. That’s exactly what I am: the wrong one. And, I’ll keep showing my face and keep speaking up for as long as I can. You should be a wrong one too and speak up.”
Buzbee ended the presser with a stern message for Roger Goodell.
“Every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now and this idea that Mr. Goodell is gonna hand it off to someone else independent, we don’t buy it. Mr. Goodell what will you do? It’s never too late to do the right thing and that’s what these women and those watching are expecting.”