Michael Irvin compares Super Bowl allegation to lynching


Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin said he was sickened by being accused of misconduct by a hotel worker in Phoenix during Super Bowl week and compared it to a lynching.

“It makes me sick” irvin said Wednesday at a press conference in Dallas, addressing an incident that garnered media attention last month. “It makes me sick because in this great country it brings me back to a time when a white woman was accusing a black man of something and a bunch of guys who were above the law were running into the barn, throwing a rope around his foot and drag him through the mud and hang him from a tree.

The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver made the remarks the day after Marriott International turned over videos and other documents as part of Irvin’s $100 million lawsuit against Marriott over the incident in the Feb. 5 involving an employee of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown, where Irvin was staying as he made pre-Super Bowl appearances. Irvin’s attorney, Levi McCathern, said he was allowed to view the video on Tuesday but was not allowed to copy it and filed a court order Wednesday to obtain it.

“If I did something wrong, I will suffer the consequences,” Irvin said, “but if you did something wrong, you mean them, then they should suffer the consequences.”

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Irvin maintained that there was no inappropriate conduct between him and the woman during a conversation in the hotel lobby. But his complaint caused NFL Network and ESPN to cancel his television appearances, and Irvin responded with the lawsuit against Marriott and the woman, whose identity was redacted from the documents, for alleged defamation and tortious interference in a business relationship. .

Irvin said he pointed out at the time that there were witnesses, but he was basically told, “We don’t want to hear it.”

“How can I defend myself if I don’t even know what I’m defending against? They asked me, “Do you remember that girl you met in the hall?” I work and live in hotels. I stay in hotels all year round,” he said on Wednesday. “…I meet people every day walking in and out of a lobby. I couldn’t even tell you what she looked like. I don’t know who I’m talking about when I talk about (how) I’m supposed to have done something. It blows my mind that in 2023 we’re still dragging and hanging brothers from a tree. I’m blown away that I don’t have the opportunity to defend – I don’t even know what I’m defending.

McCathern said the incident lasted “about a minute and a half”, adding: “When you first see the video, Michael is outside taking pictures and the accuser is behind reception. accuser comes out from behind the reception and approaches Michael and the group.

The moment Irvin encounters the accuser is not visible on the tape because a pole is in the way, McCathern said. “They greet each other first,” he said. ” They shake hands. They touched four times. He shakes her hand at the beginning and at the end he touches her elbow. And once, while he was laughing, he…touched (his) other elbow.

Bryn Davis and Phil Watkins, two witnesses to the incident, described at the press conference what they observed, as they did in interviews last month with TMZ. On Wednesday, Irvin got emotional as he listened to Davis speak. The men described meeting Irvin at a bar off the lobby and Irvin offering to pose for a photo with them. They walked out of the crowded bar and the employee approached.

Watkins, who is from Australia and said he was not a football fan, said ‘there was nothing untoward’ and said there were ‘a few handshakes and laughter” and called the conversation “very jovial” before Irvin headed for the elevator.

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Marriott declined media requests for comment, but a court document in the lawsuit, filed in Collin County, Texas, accused Irvin of making “harassing and inappropriate comments” toward the employee. Marriott maintains that it does not own the Phoenix property, which is one of several properties in its portfolio that are tenants under the corporate name.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted Irvin’s expedited discovery request and set a Tuesday deadline for Marriott to provide Irvin’s legal team with “all video recordings, reports writings and/or witness statements collected” regarding Irvin’s visit in February. in the hotel.

Irvin’s lawsuit states that after returning to his room and falling asleep, he was woken up by members of the hotel security team, who told him he had to leave the hotel after a hotel employee told a manager that Irvin had acted inappropriately towards her. Later that week, her scheduled TV appearances were cancelled.

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