Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin held a press conference with his legal team and two witnesses Wednesday to deny allegations of inappropriate misconduct leveled against him by a Phoenix, Arizona, hotel employee during Super Bowl week, accusations that his attorney calls “nonsense.”
Irvin, who has filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against “Jane Doe” and Marriott International Inc., claimed he was kicked out of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel in the middle of the night on Feb. 5 after a hotel employee accused him of misconduct following their brief interaction.
Both Irvin and his attorney, Levi McCathern, said they were not given an adequate opportunity to view a video of the supposed encounter or get access to a copy of it.
“We have filed an emergency plaintiffs motion to enforce [a] court order to try and get the video. It was filed this morning,” McCathern told reporters.
“We’re hopeful we’ll get the video to share it, but we think we’re far enough along in the case now to say this case is nonsense. … The allegations are nonsense, and we need to immediately get Michael back to work, and I believe that Renaissance needs to apologize to him.”
Irvin gave an emotional statement in which he claimed that he still has no knowledge of the details of the allegations against him.
“This sickens me because in this great country, this takes me 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 the tree. Not a thought about what would happen, not investigation, not after repeated attempts of people trying to go and say, ‘Guys, here is what really happened.’”
“How can I defend myself if I don’t even know what I am defending myself against?” he said, before adding, “This just blows my mind that in 2023 we’re still dragging and hanging brothers by a tree. That blows my mind that I have no opportunity to defend – I don’t even know what I’m defending.”
According to McCathern, the video shows Irvin and the woman meet and shake hands in the hotel lobby. Aside from shaking her hand to greet her and say goodbye, McCathern said Irvin touched her elbow two times before leaving.
Two witnesses, Phil Watkins of Australia and Bryn Davis of Philadelphia, also appeared at the press conference and detailed their version of the interaction.
“There was nothing really untoward out of the interaction,” Watkins said, adding that the employee approached Irvin. “Basically, I heard some laughter. I looked up, there was a few handshakes. There was some more laughter, and they went their separate ways.”
Davis added that the group, which was on a business trip, offered to buy Irvin a drink at the hotel bar, which he declined because of his work obligations the following morning. Irvin offered a picture instead and the group headed to the lobby where the interaction was alleged to have taken place.
“They had a very brief interaction that was super friendly, lots of laughter, and Michael went back to his room,” Davis said of the alleged encounter.