Ashley Solis, who has received death threats, calls out the NFL for not caring about Deshaun Watson accusers

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ashley Solis, the first of 25 massage therapists to sue Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct, called the NFL on Thursday to ignore the accusers.

After a 15-month investigation into Watson’s behavior, the NFL fought for an indefinite suspension of at least a year. But NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, a joint NFL and NFL Players Association appointee, gave him six games, and the NFL appealed. The league is again asking for the minimum one-year ban, but also a fine and proper treatment.

“The last two and a half years have been a very trying time for me,” Solis said at a joint press conference with attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 30 accusers. “The whole situation has been emotionally and mentally draining. I received several death threats, angry people approached me in public, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people said terrible and despicable things about me on the Internet. ”

She said the driving hurt her at first, but she became numb to it. Eventually, she sank into a deep depression.

“Then one by one I started getting letters in the mail and emails from random people all over the country about how they supported me, believed me and were inspired by me,” she said. “If you’re one of those people, and if you’re watching now, I’m so grateful. These statements of support have helped me remember who I am, who I was, and why I decided to putting myself in the public eye and making me as vulnerable as I’ve ever felt in my entire life.

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She noted that “I am here today and I have been here for all the girls, women and humans in general who have ever felt they lacked the power to speak up.”

One of 23 plaintiffs to settle with Watson, Solis expressed dismay at the NFL’s disciplinary process, which culminated in the initial six-game suspension. On Thursday, Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal.

“What do the state actions of the NFL do to little girls who suffered at the hands of someone perceived to have power,” Solis said. “That it doesn’t matter? That they don’t care? Hard fucking? That’s what I learned from their actions.”

Also interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Solis offered a different message to the same little girls.

“No matter how scary, big, or powerful a person may seem, they’re only human,” she said. “And like all humans, we all have the right to make our voices heard. … I recognize that the people I have decided to speak out against are simply human and I am no longer afraid of them. I no longer fear that power.

“Because I understand and realize that I have even more power. I am supported by my community, my family and my ancestors. … If someone has ever tried to abuse their status and dominate you, remind them that they chose the wrong person to try.’

She said that was exactly what she was – the bad one.

“I will continue to show my face and speak for as long as I can,” she said. “You should also cheat and talk.”

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