Deshaun Watson has lost a major endorsement.
After 22 women filed lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct from the Houston Texans star quarterback and two women publicly came forward with their names to detail their interactions, Nike has decided it will suspend its endorsement of the 25-year-old Pro Bowler while the investigation is taking place.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and have suspended Deshaun Watson. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in a statement, according to CNBC.
The Houston Police Department opened a criminal investigation against Watson on April 2.
One of the women, Ashley Solis, appeared in front of the media on Tuesday afternoon alongside Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 women who have filed lawsuits against the NFL star. She had previously been identified as “Jane Doe #1.”
Now, she is publicly alleging the 25-year-old quarterback assaulted her while she was providing massage therapy at her home on March 30, 2020.
“I’m not afraid anymore. I’m here to take back the power and take back control. I’m a survivor of assault and harassment,” Solis said, as transcribed by the New York Post. “Some days I feel like a hero, other days I feel like a failure.”
Other companies with Watson endorsements could soon be forced to respond to the ongoing situation.
The NFL has also broken its silence about the allegations.
“The allegations are deeply disturbing and we take these issues very seriously,” NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said in a statement to Pro Football Talk.
“Immediately following news of the first allegations last month, and as has been reported, we initiated an investigation under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. We are continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.”
Watson and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, have adamantly denied the allegations and have provided letters of support from 18 other women.