Deshaun Watson massage lawsuits: Rusty Hardin’s shady past



One of my favorite sports sideshow characters has become Rusty Hardin, a Houston-based big shot attorney given to winning photo-op attention with eye-raising claims, countrified sound bites and boasts — even if they make no sense.

Hardin is now representing the Texans’ openly disgruntled quarterback, Deshaun Watson, who has been accused by more than a dozen females, including multiple massage therapists, of trying to treat them as rub-a-dub sex workers.

Hardin first came to our attention in 2008 when his client, MLB pitcher Roger Clemens, was scheduled to testify about his purported use of drugs to illegally enhance his career.

It was then Hardin had the bright idea to escort Clemens to the offices of those congressmen and congresswomen who were to solicit his testimony about his alleged illegal use of PEDs. Hardin and Clemens brought with them publicity photos of Clemens for the famous pitcher to autograph for those who were to interrogate him.

A dumb, transparent idea to court pre-testimony Congressional favor? Absolutely. But in some cases, it worked.

Clemens, in another breach of common sense and judicial conduct, also posed for photos with those charged to get to the bottom of his drug use, as administered by a former MLB strength coach, Brian McNamee — an ex-NYC cop who became a personal trainer.

Those congressional stop-and-chats and fan-photo and autograph sessions ran over two days.

Roger Clemens (l) and Rusty Hardin in 2012.
Roger Clemens (l) and Rusty Hardin in 2012.

Yep, as long as Hardin and Clemens were in town, they figured they’d stop by those selected congress folks’ offices to say, “Howdy” to those who were to soon quiz Clemens.

Among those who fell for this ploy was Brooklyn Rep. Edolphus Towns, who seemed delighted by the private time Clemens, a famous Yankees player, after all, suddenly had decided to devote to him — as if there were no catches involved or intended.

For crying out loud, Towns’ deputy chief of staff posed for a picture with Clemens, his arm around her shoulder. The judicial process, at Hardin’s direction, was contaminated before it had begun.

Still, the Congressional Q&A of Clemens did not exonerate him. Hardly. He still struck the sensible as a covert user or abuser of illegal PEDs as administered in his home and his rear end by someone considerably less than a licensed physician. Clemens explained, “I’m a trusting person.”

And a taped conversation Hardin claimed would be the smoking gun that would prove McNamee lied about injecting Clemens with steroids proved to be nothing of the kind.

Afterward, Hardin was asked why Clemens chose McNamee rather than a genuine doctor to treat whatever it was that ailed him.

“Do you call a doctor every time you don’t feel good?” he answered.

Well, barrister, where needles and injections come into play I’d answer, “Yes, unconditionally.” How would Hardin choose to be injected with a medical curative, by an amateur, someone who likes to play doctor?

Hardin’s defense of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson for the brutal beating of his 4-year-old son with a tree branch was rationalized and defended by Hardin of a mere duplication of how Peterson was raised. With Hardin’s guidance, Peterson accepted a plea deal to avoid a felony child abuse case.

So now Watson’s future has been entrusted to Hardin. I’d say that 16 accusations of sexual malfeasance are tough to sell as a conspiracy to get to Watson’s money. But Hardin hasn’t yet begun to distribute Watson’s photo and autograph to those entrusted to pass judgment. He’ll come up with something.

Yet to transition from transistor

Tales of the Transistor: With baseball returning any minute, I spied the one non-baseball item that I find synonymous with baseball — my transistor radio. About 20 years ago it cost me eight bucks, and it remains Ol’ Reliable.

At night I’ll sometimes eschew televised baseball to find a game — any game from anywhere — on that transistor. And I’ve been doing that since the third grade. I’d swipe change from my mother’s wallet to buy 9-volt batteries for nighttime, under-the-pillow listening.

To that end, reader James Torbik recalls trying to listen to Johnny Most call “my” Celtics’ games on WBZ Radio when his aunt flipped on the kitchen’s overhead fluorescent tube lights. “My radio reception immediately turned to deafening static!”

We had fluorescent tube lights in our kitchen, too, except ours also flickered. But we still share both that memory and the pain.

WFAN host/FanDuel shill Maggie Gray now pitches parlay bets — a fools’ play with lousy payoffs — as a good wager to make. She even claims to place a few parlays herself.

Why not reveal her two- or three-game parlays before the games so we can all judge how her parlays made out? And let us know what the payout was if and when she wins one.

Odd, Gray didn’t mention or even hint at her great interest in sports gambling prior to FanDuel’s sponsorship of WFAN. Now she’s Riverboat Ruby.

Ex-Gov. on Amazin’ Board?

Can Mets owner Steve Cohen be so detached that he’d think the pompous, self-entitled, my-rules-don’t-apply-to-me ex-Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is a good choice to join the Mets’ Board of Governors?

Soon the rare bird in Division I college basketball will be the one who plays four years with the same school. Though the team just missed making the NCAA Tournament, at least five recruited University of Cincinnati basketball players have filed to transfer.

Graphic of the Week was delivered by ESPN’s ACC Network: Florida State baseball’s 6-5 win against Central Florida was it’s “First Walk-Off Win Since 2020.” (Thanks to reader Bob LaRosa for the screen-shot.)

Though it’s good to read that the Giants conducted due diligence on WR Kenny Golladay to learn that he’s a team-first guy, video of his play with the Lions tells a different story. With Detroit he wasn’t the kind to make a catch then quickly return to the huddle. He was too busy strutting around and walking downfield in self-aggrandizement — no matter the score.

Kenny Golladay
Kenny Golladay

Carl Erskine, at 94 and always a gentleman, is still doing Zoom appearances for the pleasure of Brooklyn Dodgers fans. And it’s his pleasure, too.

Gee, Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman makes himself tough to like. His tweets are too often vulgar, inflammatory and boastful.

An improvement in CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament coverage is their closer attention to free-throw stats. They count, and often for plenty.

With Sunday the first full day of Passover, I’m reminded of the blind man who was invited to join a family at their Seder, the evening friends and family meal and service that begins the holiday. Handed a piece of matzo, the blind man runs his hand over it then looks up and says, “Who wrote this junk?”


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