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NFL: Will Deshaun Watson's other endorsement deals suffer too after Nike's bold move?

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Tyler Wombles
Modified 07 Apr 2021

Deshaun Watson's situation took another turn Wednesday as sports megabrand Nike announced it has suspended its endorsement deal with the embattled Houston Texans quarterback.

"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.

Watson is accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women, including one who spoke out publicly Tuesday. The Houston-based massage therapist said in a press conference that Watson assaulted and traumatized her during a massage session.

"I'm a survivor of assault and harassment," Solis said Tuesday. "Deshaun Watson is my assaulter and my harasser. I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I'm trying to wake up from some horrible nightmare, only that nightmare is real. I hope Deshaun Watson knows how much pain he's inflicted on me physically and emotionally."

Watson and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, have denied accusations of wrongdoing, with Hardin claiming the accusations came after attempts were made to blackmail his client.

Hardin said Tony Buzbee, the attorney for Watson's accusers, has "orchestrated a circuslike atmosphere" and that there was "strong evidence" that the first lawsuit filed was false, calling the legitimacy of the others into question, according to The New York Times.

Will Deshaun Watson's other endorsement deals suffer?

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans

Nike's suspension of Deshaun Watson is the latest move in the beleaguered quarterback's saga, and it puts into question the standing of his other endorsement deals and professional connections.

Watson also has deals with Beats by Dre and Rolex, as well as other brands, and it's currently unclear how solid those agreements remain. He currently also has deals with local Texas companies, and has a partnership with a cheesesteak restaurant that will soon open near the Texans' stadium.


"The brands are in a difficult situation right now," Scott Rosner, academic director of the sports management program at Columbia University, told CNBC. "There will clearly be public pressure, as there typically is in these types of cases, to disassociate themselves formally from the athlete. And some are likely to do that. Others will make a statement expressing concern but reiterating their belief in the legal process."

Watson's professional career, both in endorsements and on the field, is in a state of chaos. He had previously requested a trade from the Texans, but the lawsuits have made a trade, and even his future with his current team, look foggy at best.

Published 07 Apr 2021, 20:11 IST
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