Nike Inc has suspended its endorsement of Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson following civil lawsuits accusing the NFL quarterback of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct, the sportswear giant said on Wednesday.
Twenty-two women have come forward and filed lawsuits against Watson, 25, who is also being investigated by the NFL for allegations they described as “deeply disturbing.”
“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.
“We were all deceived into thinking Deshaun Watson was a good guy and unfortunately we know that good guys can do terrible things,” she had said.
In the lawsuits, Watson is accused of exposing his genitals to the women and forcing at least one to perform oral sex, accusations he has denied.
“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our strong stance against any form of sexual assault,” the letter read.
“Our family and the entire Houston Texans organization are deeply troubled by any form of abuse and we condemn this type of behavior.”
The NFL said it had initiated an investigation under its Personal Conduct Policy.
Watson signed a four-year, $156 million US contract extension with the Texans last September but requested a trade in January