CLEVELAND — Hours after Deshaun Watson took the podium in Berea alongside general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam held a virtual press conference to address the team's acquisition of the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
The Haslams' press conference came one day after a grand jury in Brazoria County, Texas, declined to indict Watson on sexual misconduct charges. Earlier this month, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, declined to pursue nine charges against Watson, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by 22 women in the Houston area.
On multiple occasions during his press conference on Friday, Watson maintained his innocence and said that it was his intent to fight the civil lawsuits that he's currently facing. Watson also faces potential punishment from the NFL, which is currently investigating the allegations against him.
"I never assaulted, I never disrespected and I never harassed any woman in my life," Watson said, echoing a similar sentiment on multiple occasions. "I wasn't raised that way. My mom and my aunties didn't raise me that way over the course of my life. That's not in my DNA. As far as the details of the things that they're alleging, I can't speak on that because there's an ongoing investigation. But in the future, once everything's resolved, I would sit down and love to talk about it."
Last week, Cleveland acquired the 26-year-old signal-caller in a trade with the Texans, sending Houston three first-round picks, a 2022 fourth-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 pick swap in exchange for the NFL's 2020 passing leader. In addition to the Browns, the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers pursued the NFL's 2020 passing yards leader, who waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade to Cleveland.
What follows are live updates from Friday's press conference with the Haslams: