Marriott, on the ropes early in its legal fight against Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, has finally tried to counterpunch.
Via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Marriott disclosed on Friday specific details about the allegations a female employee of a Phoenix hotel made against Irvin. The complaint got Irvin removed from NFL Network’s and ESPN’s Super Bowl-week programming.
Attorney Levi McCathern pushed back against the contention, calling it”marriott-releases-details-of-womans-accusation-against-michael-irvin/” data-ylk=”slk:total hogwash;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>total hogwash” in a statement to Gehlken.
“Marriott’s recently-created account goes against all the eyewitnesses and Michael’s own testimony as well as common sense,” McCathern told Gehlken. “We will release the video next week. There is no sexual assault. The fact Marriott is taking the position that it is an insult to all of the true female victims out there.”
In a court filing submitted on Friday, Marriott claimed that Irvin “flagged down” the employee as she walked from a bar area in the lobby. Irvin allegedly asked her about her work, said he found her attractive, shook her hand, and introduced himself.
She said, per Marriott, that she doesn’t follow the NFL. He allegedly told her to search his name on the Internet.
Here’s an excerpt from the document posted by Gehlken:
“Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable. Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big Black man inside of [her].’ Taken aback by Irvin’s comments, the Victim responded that his comments were inappropriate, and he did not wish to discuss them further.
“Irvin then attempted to grab the Victim’s hand again and said he was ‘sorry if he brought up bad memories’ for her.’ The Victim pulled her hand away and tried to back away from Irvin as he continued to move towards her.”
Two Marriott coworkers allegedly noticed that the female employee seemed uncomfortable. Irvin allegedly said to her that “security” had noticed him. He then offered his hand and prepared to end the interaction.
“Seeing that other Hotel employees were in the area and wanting the interaction to end, the Victim returned Irvin’s handshake,” wrote Marriott’s lawyers. “Irvin then stated that he would come back to find her sometime that week when she was working.”
As the employee walked away, Irvin allegedly “leered” at her. Then, another unnamed hotel employee approached Irvin.
“After Irvin finished lecturing at the Victim and turned back to Employee 1, he said aloud, ‘She bad,’ ‘She bad,’ ‘I want to hit that,’ and slapped himself in the face three times, saying, ‘Keep it together, Mike,’” Marriott’s lawyers contend.
None of the contents of the court filing count as true and reliable evidence. At some point, the witnesses will be required to take the oath to tell the truth and then share their stories — with full cross-examination.
For now, this could be nothing more than the best possible version that Marriott can offer. And if, as it appears, Marriott insists on concealing the identity of all witnesses for as long as it can, Marriott likely has not submitted affidavits or declarations signed by the witnesses under penalty of perjury.
That’s not to say anyone is lying, for now. But words on paper are one thing. Testimony that withstands tough questions aimed at testing the limits of its truthfulness is another.
The only people who have spoken on the matter from Marriott’s perspective are Marriott’s lawyers. And they have already undermined their own credibility by irvin-case/” data-ylk=”slk:defying a court order;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>defying a court order to properly produce the surveillance video of the interaction.
That’s the point that keeps bugging me, frankly. If Marriott thought the video supported its subsequent decision to sound an alarm to NFL Network, Marriott should have no qualms about making it available, to anyone. Marriott’s behavior as it relates to the video suggests that the company has something to hide.
It’s a foolish strategy, because in situations like this the truth — whatever it is — always comes out.
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