Deshaun Watson's Lawyer Claims Accuser #1 Demanded $100k In 'Hush Money'

Deshaun Watson's attorney claims accuser Ashley Solis -- who identified herself as "Jane Doe #1" on Tuesday -- demanded $100,000 in "hush money" before filing her lawsuit.

... and Watson's attorney claims he has the emails to prove it.

Solis was the first accuser to file a sexual misconduct lawsuit against the Houston Texans star back on March 16. She used a pseudonym to protect her identity.

She came forward in a news conference alongside her attorney Tony Buzbee on Tuesday and spelled out her case against Watson -- at one point explaining, "People say that I'm doing this just for money. That is false. I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman."

SPEAKING OUT
FOX 26 Houston

But, Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin says this is absolutely about money -- claiming Buzbee approached one of Watson's reps back in February in an effort to "quietly settle the allegations the month before he filed the first lawsuit."

Hardin says he has emails sent by Buzbee associate Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey to one of Watson's representatives on Feb. 9 spelling out the demand.

"My client’s demand is $100,000" ... and ... "This offer remains open until Friday of this week."

Hardin claims Deshaun's representative pushed back against the demand in the following email response.

"We don’t believe that the alleged facts show that Deshaun did anything wrong with regards to Ms. Solis, but we are nevertheless happy to continue the conversation around a reasonable settlement figure because we believe he can learn a lesson about having put himself in this situation."

Buzbee's response to that ...

"We made a legit demand. You rejected it. We won’t be making another or bid against ourselves. We also won’t be having an extended dialogue about why you think your client did nothing wrong or how you want this to be a 'learning' experience for your 'high profile athlete,' as you refer to him. This is Houston, Texas. Perhaps you should find him a lawyer here so you can apprise both you and your client of the landscape here and who you are dealing with. Talk soon."

The lawsuit was ultimately filed on March 16 -- and 21 women have filed similar lawsuits against Watson since then.

As we previously reported, Watson's position remains that he did not do anything wrong and he has vowed to dig in and fight to clear his name.

Tennessee Football Linebacker Cited For Animal Cruelty After Alleged Kitten Abuse

2:39 PM PT -- 4/6 -- A Knoxville Police Dept. spokesperson tells TMZ Sports ... Beasley has been officially cited for animal cruelty after the alleged cat abuse.

According to the official, the citation is a class A misdemeanor ... which means if Beasley's convicted of the crime -- he could face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.

5:00 PM PT -- A Tennessee Athletics spokesperson tells TMZ Sports Aaron Beasley has been suspended from all team activities while the investigation is underway.

"We have received the incident report from the Knoxville Police Department," the school said Monday. "Aaron Beasley has been suspended indefinitely from all football team activities as we await further information."

A University of Tennessee student claims a linebacker on the football team badly injured her 6-month-old kitten ... and now, cops are investigating.

The player at the center of the probe is Aaron Beasley -- a former high school star who just wrapped up his sophomore season at UT.

Beasley played in 8 games in 2020 -- but is touted as a potential future star with a high ceiling.

The problem ... a UT student claims Beasley committed some horrific acts of violence against an innocent kitten -- injuring the animal so badly, he, required a trip to the emergency room.

The cat's owner described the situation in a GoFundMe page set up for her pet on Thursday.

"I came home this morning to find my 6 month old kitten under a dresser hiding and not letting anyone touch him."

"When I picked him up he screamed and couldn’t walk, come to find out my roomates boyfriend had hit and kicked him, locked him in the toilet bowl, and held him upside down by his tail."

"We rushed Nugget to the emergency room and he has brain damage and will now have a hard time walking, he has a bleeding hemorrhage on his kidney caused from internal bleeding from being kicked, clots in his bladder, and he is currently in an oxygen tank."

The Knoxville Police Dept. confirmed to WBIR that it received a report of animal abuse involving another student's cat and has opened an investigation into Beasley.

We reached out to the Univ. of Tennessee for comment but so far no word back.

As for the kitten, Nugget's GoFundMe has already raised more than $4,300 to help with the cat's medical care.

Originally Published -- 6:50 AM PT

Tiger Woods 'Bummed' To Miss Masters ... Justin Thomas Says

Breaking News
MISSIN' TIGER
The Masters

The reality of missing out on The Masters is settling in for Tiger Woods ... his golf pal, Justin Thomas, says the injured star is “bummed" to not be playing this weekend.

JT explained the situation to reporters at a news conference Tuesday ... saying Tiger just hit him up last week and expressed sadness over not being able to compete for his sixth green jacket.

"We texted Friday morning, and he said it's kind of starting to set in," Thomas revealed. "He's bummed he's not here playing practice rounds with us, and we hate it too."

Thomas -- who normally has all of his Masters practice rounds with Woods -- says he's visited Tiger several times in the past few weeks out in Florida.

JT didn't reveal how the recovery process is going for the 45-year-old ... but the fact that he's texting about golf appears to be at least a somewhat good sign he's on the mend.

As we previously reported, Woods suffered horrific leg injuries in a car crash in California on Feb. 23 ... and just returned to Florida from the hospital about 3 weeks ago.

He's not expected to make an appearance at this weekend's event -- a tourney he's DOMINATED over the years -- but some of the guys are still honoring him, nonetheless.

In addition to Thomas lamenting not being able to play with him this week ... Woods' other golf bud, Fred Couples, rocked a Tiger mask at the course Tuesday to show support.

"Not the same without you," Couples tweeted.

The Masters -- which Tiger last won in 2019 -- kicks off Thursday morning ... and is set to conclude on Sunday.

Karl-Anthony Towns Gets First COVID-19 Vaccine Dose One Year After Mom's Death

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns has received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine ... one week before the anniversary of his mother's tragic coronavirus-related death.

The 25-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves center shared the news on Tuesday ... posting a pic of the moment he took the needle in his left arm, while giving a big thumbs up.

Of course, the Towns family was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic -- KAT's mother, Jacqueline, tested positive in March 2020 and the symptoms were severe. At one point, doctors placed her in a medically induced coma due in hopes of saving her life -- but it didn't work and she passed away on April 13.

Karl and his father, Karl Sr., later contracted the virus ... but both have since fully recovered.

A large number of NBA players have received the vaccine over the past month ... although commish Adam Silver says it is not currently a requirement to play.

KAT previously spoke about how the virus affected his family ... saying, "I pray every day that this nightmare of a virus will subside and I beg everyone to continue to take it seriously by taking all of the necessary precautions."

"We cannot stop the spread of this virus alone, it must be a group effort by all of us."

Damian Lillard & Trail Blazers Help Fund New All-Abilities Park ... In Oregon

Amazing stuff from Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers ... the NBA superstar and his team have committed to help build yet another all-inclusive playground in Oregon.

Portland's NBA squad has been heavily involved in funding fun, all-abilities play areas in the state for kids for the past 7 years ... and 2021 will be no different, the team announced Tuesday.

This year, the Blazers and Lillard say they're passing along $25,000 to the city of Astoria -- which is about 100 miles northwest of Portland -- to aid in the building of the new playground.

The place promises to be awesome ... it'll allow typical kids to play with others that might require wheelchairs or walkers without any sort of restrictions.

And, if you're unfamiliar, these kinds of parks are SUPER important to families with special needs children because they help break stigmas and include EVERYBODY.

You'll recall ... NFL star Drew Brees helped build a similar fully inclusive playground in the New Orleans area back in 2017 -- and it turned out GREAT!

Here's to hoping the same happens in Astoria.

Props to all for the cool move!!

Aaron Rodgers, Shailene Woodley Happiest Couple On Earth!!! ... Pack On PDA At Disney

Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley's tour of love continues -- the engaged couple hit up Disney World during Easter weekend ... and they couldn't keep their hands off each other!!

Of course, the NFL MVP and actress are fresh off a romantic getaway to Mexico ... which was the very first time we got a glimpse of the duo together since Rodgers announced their engagement back in February.

37-year-old Rodgers and 29-year-old Woodley now appear to be a lot more comfortable showing their love for each other out in public ... holding hands and hugging while walking through Disney in Orlando.

In fact, the couple adorably decided to wear matching Star Wars-themed masks ... and while Woodley added some Minnie Mouse ears, Rodgers settled for a ballcap and Star Wars shirt.

Remember -- Rodgers is a grade-A Star Wars super-nerd ... so we're sure he couldn't wait to get the VIP treatment while checking out the SW: Galaxy's Edge area during his visit.

The couple has a lot to celebrate -- Rodgers' debut episode as interim host of "Jeopardy!" premiered on Monday ... and Woodley hyped up her man by praising his man bun and "super sexy, super attractive" look.

4/5/21
OUR BIG STAR

What are ... relationship goals, Aaron??

Sorry, bad "Jeopardy!" joke.

Taco 'Bout a Lawsuit Man Sues Baseball Team After dad dies in Taco eating contest

A man tragically died during a taco-eating contest in California's central valley -- and now, his son wants the owner of the org that hosted it to pay up.

Marshall Hutchings is suing Fresno Sports and Events -- the company that owns the Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team -- for hosting what he calls an inherently dangerous amateur taco eating competition at Chukchansi Park back in 2019 ... during which his father died.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Hutchings claims his dad, Dana, wasn't warned or told about the risks involved in devouring as much grub as possible in a short amount of time ... and, as a result, began choking on "chewed and unchewed" taco remnants.

Hutchings says people attempted to save him with CPR and a defibrillator, before paramedics arrived to rush Dana to the hospital ... where he was pronounced dead.

Hutchings asserts FS&E had no business holding an event like that with novices -- because he says professional food eating is serious business, and requires preparation and training on the participants' part ... insisting Average Joes aren't equipped to compete safely. Long story short, Hutchings claims the event was too dangerous, and the company didn't take proper steps in running it -- which ended up costing a life.

Hutchings is suing for wrongful death and is asking a judge to award him major damages. Fresno Sports had no comment.

Deshaun Watson Accuser #1 Comes Forward ... 'I'm a Survivor'

Breaking News
SPEAKING OUT
FOX 26 Houston

"My name is Ashley Solis. Remember that name."

You're looking at the very first woman who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against NFL star Deshaun Watson -- who just revealed her identity at an emotional news conference in Texas.

Solis -- formerly known as Jane Doe #1 -- claims Watson acted inappropriately during a massage therapy session at her home in March 2020.

She had filed the lawsuit under an alias due to the fear of a public backlash -- but says she feels empowered to go public and tell her story herself.

With attorney Tony Buzbee by her side, Solis said Monday, "I'm not afraid anymore. I'm here to take back the power, take back control."

"I'm a survivor of assault and harassment. Deshaun Watson is my assaulter and my harasser," she continued.

"I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I'm trying to wake up for some horrible nightmare -- only that nightmare is real."

Solis says she's still dealing with lingering trauma from the incident -- including the shakes -- which prevents her from properly doing her job.

"I hope [Watson] knows how much pain he's inflicted on me physically and emotionally," Solis says.

She explained her father -- "once a diehard Texans fan -- "can no longer say his name without turning red."

Solis says, "We were all deceived into thinking Deshaun Watson was a good guy."

"I will not let Deshaun Watson define who I am. I will not let him win. He needs to be held accountable for his actions."

During the news conference, Buzbee also revealed the identity of another Watson accuser who had been using an alias -- Lauren Baxley.

Baxley did not attend the news conference in person, but wrote a strong letter to the QB which was read out loud to the media.

"Every boundary, from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading, you crossed or attempted to cross," Baxley wrote about her alleged encounter with Watson,

For his part, Watson has denied all allegations of wrongdoing and says he has rejected settlement demands from the early accusers.

Watson also issued a statement from 18 female massage therapists who say he's a respectful client who never put them in an uncomfortable situation.

22 women in total have lawsuits against Watson -- all of them using an alias. Solis is the only person to reveal her identity to the public so far.

Buzbee says Solis and one other accuser have spoken with police -- though he did not specify which agency she contacted.

The Houston PD announced it has opened an investigation into the Watson allegations -- though no charges have been filed at this point.

'Miracle On Ice' Hockey Legend Mark Pavelich Died by Suicide ... Officials Say

The death of Team USA hockey legend Mark Pavelich -- a key part of the "Miracle on Ice" team -- has been ruled a suicide, officials announced.

The 63-year-old died on March 4 at the Eagle's Healing Nest in Minnesota -- where Pavelich had been undergoing court-ordered treatment as part of a 2019 assault case.

After a thorough investigation, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office issued a statement Monday saying Pavelich "died of asphyxia due to a plastic bag over head. The manner of death is suicide."

Pavelich -- who famously made the assist on the game-winning goal to beat the Russians in the 1980 Olympics -- had been battling mental health issues in recent years.

In fact, during his assault case -- stemming from a violent altercation with a neighbor -- the ex-hockey star was diagnosed with PTSD and multiple clinical psychologists found him to be both mentally ill and dangerous.

One psychologist testified Pavelich suffered from "mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury with behavioral disturbance (psychotic symptoms, aggression)" -- and suggested the condition may have been caused by repeated hits to the head.

Pavelich's family had said they believe hockey was a major contributing factor to his brain injuries.

After his stint on Team USA, Mark spent 5 seasons with the NY Rangers -- followed by brief stints with the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks.

He retired from pro hockey in 1992.

Disney famously made a movie about the "Miracle On Ice" team in 2004 -- and Pavelich was played by actor Chris Koch.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Bryson DeChambeau Psychotic Masters Prep Caught On Video ... Insane Range Sesh!!!

"I'd be in traction at a hospital if I tried this."

That's how one announcer described the insanity of Bryson DeChambeau's Master's prep on Monday ... and, yeah, it truly was THAT ridiculous!!!

Golf's maniacal 27-year-old star hit the practice range to prep for the PGA Tour's most prestigious tournament in Georgia this week ... and the guy just completely went off with his driver.

Check out the footage captured by Golf Channel ... Bryson was swinging so damn hard, fellow tour pro Vijay Singh could do nothing but sit and stare in awe!!

The swings were rapid-fire, too ... Bryson would destroy a golf ball to the moon and then immediately turn to his caddie for a reload!!!

"It's exhausting to watch," one announcer said of the routine.

It's unconventional for sure ... but it's worked for DeChambeau this year -- he's known as the longest driver on tour BY FAR, and he's one of the biggest favorites to win The Masters this weekend because of that power.

Of course, Bryson's got to save some in the tank to get that far ... so maybe opt for the practice putting green next time???

North Korea Bails on Tokyo Olympics ... Over COVID-19 Fears

North Korea's Olympic dreams are dead -- the country has pulled out of the Tokyo Games claiming the threat of COVID is simply too dangerous for its athletes.

Officials broke the news on a state-run website ... explaining the decision to bail on the Games was made during a March 25 conference call involving leaders of the country's Olympic Committee.

Here's the statement (translated by Google):

"The Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games on the proposal of the members to protect our athletes from the global public health crisis caused by the vicious virus infectious disease."

North Korea still has to file the formal paperwork -- the International Olympic Committee says it hasn't received an "official" notice of withdrawal from the games.

Unclear how many athletes will be affected by the decision -- but North Korea only sent 22 competitors to the 2018 Games in South Korea.

As for Tokyo, city officials have repeatedly said they're implementing all sorts of COVID protocols to ensure the highest levels of safety at the event, which is scheduled to begin in July.

For its part, North Korea claims it has ZERO recorded cases of COVID within its borders -- but no one really believes that.

L.A. Angels Fans Troll Astros With Barrage Of Trash Cans ... & 'Astros Suck' Chants!!!

"ASTROS SUCK! ASTROS SUCK! ASTROS SUCK!"

Angels fans let the cheating-ass Astros HAVE IT during their game in L.A. on Monday night ... chanting insults at them and trolling them with a symphony of banging trash cans!!!

The scene was epic ... in right field at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, fans had a seemingly endless supply of garbage bins to heckle Houston players with.

It started early in the night when one fan lifted one over his head and banged on it incessantly.

Later, one person actually threw an inflatable trash can onto the field. Then, just minutes after that, someone dumped an entire bin over the wall!

Things got so relentless -- the Angels actually had to set up security in right field to make sure it all calmed down!!!

Eventually, the trash bins seemed to get to Houston ... 'cause it blew a 5-3 lead late in the game and ultimately lost, 7-6!

And, the limited capacity crowd sure let the Astros know about it ... joining in unison to chant "Astros suck!" at players.

Of course, the 'Stros are still hated by everyone after MLB officials determined they illegally stole signs and banged on trash cans to relay them to batters during their World Series run in 2017 and the following year.

The players caught a bit of a break last season with no fans allowed in stadiums ... but it's clear, they ain't gonna get the same kind of treatment this year.

Better get that skin tough, Houston ... it could be a long 2021!!

Panthers QB Sam Darnold Celebrates After Being Traded from Jets ... Let's Party!!!

Breaking News
PANTHER PARTY
@jordanpalmer/Instagram

How did Sam Darnold handle the news that he was being traded from the NY Jets to the Carolina Panthers?!

Break out the black and blue balloons ... it's party time!!!

Check out the celebration Darnold's friends and family threw for the QB in the hours after the trade went down -- the smile on Sam's face speaks for itself!

Sam's personal QB coach Jordan Palmer captured the small gathering on video -- saying, "Pumped for the next leg of this journey."

Sam waves his arms in the air, cracks a huge smile and puts on a Panthers ball cap. He's ready!!

... and why wouldn't he be? The Jets have been trash since they selected Darnold with the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old QB has flashed serious potential -- but many blame the incompetence of recently fired Jets coach Adam Gase for stunting his development.

Now, Darnold will get a new life with the Panthers -- and he's clearly fired up about the opportunity.

Baylor Fans Throw Wild Street Party After Winning Title ... Couch Burning & Fireworks!!!

Baylor fans partied HARD after their men's basketball team blew out Gonzaga ... setting couches on fire in the streets and letting off fireworks -- and video from the scene is WILD!!!

Just minutes after the Bears took down the Zags, 86-70, to win the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis on Monday night ... it didn't take Baylor's students long to celebrate.

BAYLOR BASH
@jordydickey/Instagram

Those who watched the game at McClane Stadium on campus stormed the field in epic fashion ... and then they took to the roadways near the school.

Check out footage from the block party ... fans lit things on fire and danced around the inferno with their iPhones in hand!!

Later, they lit LEGIT fireworks -- and cheered like crazy when the explosions popped off above!!

As for their safety ... don't worry -- reporters on the scene said the Waco Fire Dept. was there to take care of any out-of-control blazes, while police officers monitored the situation as well.

Meanwhile, inside the arena, the players danced their faces off ... and Baylor's most famous football alum, Robert Griffin III, cheered from the stands too!!!

CELEBRATING THE CHAMPS

BTW -- if you're in the "Act like you've been there before crowd" ... might be time to dip out of that one -- 'cause the men's hoops championship Monday night is the first in school history.

So, yeah ... go crazy, Baylor -- go crazy!

Aaron Rodgers Trolled By 'Jeopardy!' Contestant Over Playoff Loss to Tom Brady!!!

Breaking News
THE REAL QUESTION
Jeopardy!

Answer: THIS is what Aaron Rodgers got hit with in the final seconds of his 'Jeopardy' hosting debut ...

Question: What is ... A SICK BURN!?!?

Yep, the Green Bay Packers QB was heckled during Final Jeopardy over that lousy NFC Championship playoff loss to Tom Brady ... and it was hilarious!!

Rodgers was a pretty solid guest host on Monday's show -- keeping a solid pace and offering some fun banter along the way. He crushed it.

But, the best moment of the show took place at the end ... when contestant Scott -- the reigning 2-day champion -- decided to have some fun at Aaron's expense during Final Jeopardy.

The category was Daytime TV Personalities -- but Scott realized he didn't know the material and couldn't win the game.

So, instead of scribbling down a legitimate guess ... he wrote on his monitor, "Who wanted to kick that field goal?!"

SICK BURN!!!

Aaron smiled, laughed and said, "That is a great question! It should be correct!"

Scott is referring to the bizarre call at the end of the NFC Championship game back in January ... where Packers coach Matt LaFleur opted to kick a field goal on 4th and Goal, despite being down 8 points with around 2 minutes remaining.

The Packers got the 3 points -- but Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs got the ball back and successfully ran out the clock, winning the game.

Most people -- including Aaron -- think Rodgers should've gotten a chance to score a TD on 4th down, followed by a 2 point conversion try. But hey, hindsight is 20/20 right?

Don't worry, Rodgers has a solid support system around him -- including his fiancee, Shailene Woodley, who raved about Aaron right before he made his hosting debut.

"This guy right here is super sexy, super attractive ... just shaved his neck this morning! Has a little man bun growing," she joked.

4/5/21
OUR BIG STAR

"This guy is hosting Jeopardy! tonight!"

So, why was Aaron selected to host? Rodgers actually won "Celebrity Jeopardy" back in 2015 ... and explained in his opening comments that he wanted to honor the memory of the late, great Alex Trebek.

Mission accomplished.

Chris Jericho CM Punk Intrigued By WWE Appearance Shows 'Vince Isn't Afraid of AEW'

Exclusive
"IT'S A NEW AGE"
TMZSports.com

"I think it's interesting for sure."

That's CM Punk weighing in on Chris Jericho's upcoming interview on WWE Network ... the first time Jericho will appear on a WWE platform since leaving the company in 2018.

"Honestly, my major reaction and opinion on it is I think that it shows Vince McMahon isn't afraid of AEW at all because if he was, he wouldn't allow that to happen."

Wow!

FYI, Jericho currently works for WWE rival All Elite Wrestling (he's a former AEW World Champion) -- and everyone is waiting to hear what he has to say about his former and current employer when he sits down with Stone Cold Steve Austin for his "Broken Skull Sessions" show, set to air on WWE Network (and NBC Peacock) on on April 11.

For the most part, WWE doesn't really play into feuds with rival wrestling promotions -- but Jericho was a staple in Vince McMahon's operation for nearly 20 years ... and a massive fan favorite.

So, how will things go down when Jericho gets in the hot seat? CM Punk has some thoughts ...

"It feels like it's gonna be softball questions. I don't know if they're going to ask Jericho all the tough questions -- and nor do I think that they possibly should."

He adds, "It will probably just be like a feel-good interview. They'll talk about Jericho's past at WWE, I'm sure they'll mention AEW but they won't get into the hard questions that I think a lot of people would be interested in."

Ultimately, Punk thinks the interview is a win for both sides.

"Anytime anybody's talking about you, it's good. There will be people who don't know AEW exists who will watch it and say 'Oh wow cool, I didn't know that, I just thought Jericho was retired.' But, there is also something to be said about keeping your guys special and the only place you can see the superstar is on my television show. It's new age and I think both companies need all the eyeballs they can get at the moment so kudos to everybody involved."

BONUS! We also spoke with Punk about a possible return to the MMA cage for a 3rd pro fight ... and while he acknowledges it's unlikely, he's not shutting the door completely.

"There's a lot more gray in this beard than there was even a year ago. I never say never but I'm 42, I'm getting a little long in the tooth especially for MMA."

"I still train but getting in the cage and fighting is a different animal. You gotta commit to a long training camp, especially for me because I started way late so my knowledge of everything and my, ya know, just experiences is at a lower level. I just decided to fight at the highest level for some silly reason."

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