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Lawyer denies suggestion of collusion with Texans

While the plaintiffs in the sexual harassment lawsuits against Deshaun Watson deserve to have their case heard, Mike Florio is skeptical of the behavior of their lawyer, Tony Buzbee.

During the opening remarks of his Friday afternoon press conference, lawyer Tony Buzbee addressed widespread speculation regarding a suspected connection between the claims made against quarterback Deshaun Watson and his current employer, the Houston Texans. Some think either that the Texans instigated the lawsuits or that Buzbee has taken the cases as a favor to the team.

There has been no evidence whatsoever to support these conspiracy theories. Buzbee nevertheless chose to confront the question directly.

“I need to dispel some silly rumors,” Buzbee said. “Yes, I live on River Oaks Boulevard and I live near the McNair family. I don’t know the McNair family. I wouldn’t recognize Cal or Hal or whatever his name is if I saw him on the street. This case has nothing to do with the Texans. Has nothing to do with free agency, the timing, I don’t know anything about that silliness, and I frankly don’t care about it. The Texans are not a team that I follow.”

It’s hard to believe that Buzbee doesn’t know that Cal McNair’s name is “Cal McNair,” or that Buzbee doesn’t know what Cal McNair looks like. Taking such an extreme position calls the credibility of the denial into question, and it invites curiosity as to whether he’s opting to throw as much dirt as possible on any potential connection, going so far as to feign ignorance of Cal McNair’s first name.

As Houston native Charean Williams said on Friday’s PFT PM, everyone in Houston knows who Tony Buzbee is, and everyone in Houston knows who Cal McNair is.

Although it seems incredibly far fetched to think that there was any type of collusion or coordination or communication between Buzbee and anyone from the Texans, Buzbee’s effort to suggest he’s not even aware of the name of the man who currently runs the team activates the so-called crap filter, and it at should prompt Watson’s legal team to engage in at least a cursory examination as to whether there’s something there.

These questions are completely independent of the issue of whether actionable assaults were committed by Watson. It’s entirely possible that Watson engaged in misconduct with one or more (or all) of the 22 women who contend that assaults occurred and that there was some sort of collusion or coordination between Buzbee and the Texans.

Any such collusion or coordination would not excuse Watson’s behavior. However, it would introduce another layer to the story, and it would invite criticism and scrutiny of whoever from the Texans worked with Buzbee -- if there’s ever any evidence that such things happened.

Again, there’s currently no evidence of any collusion or coordination. Buzbee nevertheless legitimized the rumors by addressing them on Friday. By saying what he did, he possibly fueled them.