On Tuesday, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin released the security surveillance video of the encounter with his sexual assault accuser that has brought his TV broadcasting career to an abrupt end.
During the session, Irving told reporters…
“Here’s the truth. We used to say, when we played football… the eye in the sky don’t tell no lie. It’s just the truth. We talk and tell lies… but the eye in the sky (pointing to the monitor) don’t tell no lie.”
In the video, the Dallas Cowboys legend can be seen in the lobby of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown hotel, owned by Marriott, casually walking up to his accuser, a young female employee.
The two had a lengthy conversation, about two minutes, but seemingly pleasant and unremarkable. You can see Irvin touch the employee on the elbow twice… the first touch was very brief and the second time, even shorter. The two also shook hands near the end of their encounter.
It happened on the evening of February 5th, just before Super Bowl LVII was set to begin. Instead of calling the biggest game of the year, Irvin was unceremoniously sent home by reps from ESPN and the NFL Network.
Irvin swore he got little explanation and seemingly no real investigation before the sports news titans decided to hand down their punishment of indefinite suspension.
The video’s release comes after much legal wrangling between Irvin’s legal team and Marriott lawyers. The corporation fought hard to keep the videotape from public view.
Irvin’s attorney, Levi McCathern, narrated the video in a most favorable light for his client. At the end, the lawyer asserted strongly that video surveillance exonerated Irvin.
In a press conference last Wednesday, before the video release, Irvin said it felt like a modern-day lynching to him. The 3-time Super Bowl champion said it took him…
“…back to a time where a white woman would accuse a black man of something, and they would take a bunch of guys that were above the law, run in a barn, put a rope around his foot and drag him through the mud and hang him by a tree.”
According to USA Today, before the video release, Marriott described the incident between Irvin and their employee in a very accusatory tone:
“On the night in question, Marriott says that Irvin flagged down the accuser and “appeared to be visibly intoxicated” and began his aggressive behavior toward the employee, shaking her hand, stating she was attractive, and asking her if she watched football.”
“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],” the lawsuit says.”
“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.”
Soon after Irvin realized his reputation had been ruined by the short, casual encounter, the ex wide receiver decided to sue Marriott International and his accuser for $100 million in Texas, for defamation and tortious interference in a business relationship.
The suit has since been dropped and re-filed in the state of Arizona, where the incident actually happened. This time the suit takes aim at Marriott, Renaissance Phoenix operating company, the accuser, and three other employees.
It should be noted the circumstance took place in full view of many hotel patrons and employees. A hotel security guard walked by as Irvin and his accuser spoke… the guard remained only steps away.
ESPN and the NFL have not offered comment since the surveillance tape release. Until the next time it drips….