and Apple AAPL,
Affiliate Beats by Dre has suspended its approval deal with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson amid allegations of sexual misconduct, according to reports from CNBC and ESPN.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, ”Nike said in a statement. Beats by Dre has not released a statement and has not responded to MarketWatch’s request for comment.
Watson has been charged with sexual assault or harassment in lawsuits brought by 22 women.
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Nike would use the moral clause of its contract with Watson to suspend its validity, according to sports lawyer Darren Heitner. Nike has used this clause in the past, such as with former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who physically assaulted a woman in 2014.
The financial terms of Watson’s deal with Nike and Beats by Dre have not been made public.
The first woman to charge Watson with sexual assault and harassment in a lawsuit spoke publicly on Tuesday, saying she was terrified by his meeting with the NFL player and that he should be held accountable for his actions.
At a press conference, Ashley Solis said she was assaulted and traumatized when she tried to give Watson a massage in March 2020.
“I stand now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman … I am seeking justice not only on my behalf but for all survivors … It is about making my voice heard,” Solis said in tears while reading a statement, adding she was no longer afraid to speak.
Solis’s description of his meeting with Watson, in which he allegedly touched her with his penis during the massage session, reflects the accusations made by the other women in their lawsuits. They accuse Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis, or kissing them against their will while he is getting a massage. At least one woman has alleged that Watson forced her to have oral sex during a massage in December. All of the women who sued Watson are licensed massage therapists or have worked in a spa or similar business. The first lawsuit was filed on March 16 and the most recent was filed on Monday.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin called the allegations “baseless” and questioned the claims against Watson, alleging they were made following an unsuccessful attempt to blackmail his client for 30 $ 000.
Solis said in her statement that since the alleged assault she suffers from panic attacks, anxiety, depression and is no longer comfortable working as a massage therapist.
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The Houston Police Department and the NFL are conducting their own investigations into the allegations.
Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and signed a $ 156 million four-year contract extension with the Texans last offseason. Watson recently asked to be traded from the team, ahead of the sexual misconduct allegations being published.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.