Cowboys legend Michael Irvin refiles $100m defamation lawsuit against Marriott in Arizona

In Sport


As part of his ongoing $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and an unidentified female employee, Michael Irvin and his attorneys shared security footage from his February 5 exchange with the woman, which they say disproves the sexual harassment allegations against the Dallas Cowboys legend.

‘When the conversation ends, the complaining employee looks very happy,’ attorney Levi McCathern told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference in Dallas.

Irvin was accused by Marriott of drunkenly asking the woman if she’s had ‘a big black man inside her,’ but denied that accusation at Tuesday’s press conference. 

‘I don’t speak like that,’ Irvin said of the recorded exchange, which took place at the Renaissance Phoenix Hotel & Spa. ‘I never speak like that. I totally deny saying that.’ 

The 3-minute, 38-second video has no sound, so the specifics of the exchange remain unclear. Irvin and the unidentified woman speak for nearly two minutes in the footage, which was narrated to the media by McCathern.  

As part of his ongoing $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and an unidentified female employee, Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin and his attorneys shared security footage from his February 5 exchange with the woman, which he and his lawyers claim supports his side of events

As part of his ongoing $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and an unidentified female employee, Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin and his attorneys shared security footage from his February 5 exchange with the woman, which he and his lawyers claim supports his side of events

The brief video shows the female employee being engaged by Irvin when she passes through the bar area of the lobby. The two shake hands and move a few steps away from the bar before Irvin touches her left arm with his right hand.

The woman does step back as they continue to converse.

They appear to share a laugh before shaking hands, when she is approached by another hotel employee, bringing her conversation with Irvin to an end.

As was alleged in a filing by Marriott on Friday, Irvin is seen slapping himself three times after his exchange with the woman. Marriott claimed in its protective motion filed Friday in federal court that Irvin said ‘keep it together Mike’ after slapping himself, as one employee claims they observed the Hall of Famer slurring his words and acting as though he was under the influence of alcohol.

After slapping himself, Irvin is seen taking a selfie with another hotel employee at the 2:48 mark.

Prior to showing the footage to reporters in Dallas and on a Zoom conference call, Irvin said he was ‘so thankful for this video,’ suggesting that it exonerates him. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, McCathern called the accusation ‘ridiculous,’ an ‘overreaction,’ and the result of ‘cancel culture.’

‘This woman is not offended,’ said McCathern, who suggested that the real issue stemmed from another hotel employee who appeared to be upset about her exchange with Irvin. 

‘This is not a sexual assault, this isn’t sexual harassment, this isn’t sexual misconduct,’ McCathern said. ‘I think that’s very clear here.’

Irvin is seen on the footage in the upper right-hand corner speaking with the Jane Doe mentioned in his $100million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and Renaissance Hotels

Irvin is seen on the footage in the upper right-hand corner speaking with the Jane Doe mentioned in his $100million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and Renaissance Hotels

Irvin has voluntarily dismissed his $100million defamation lawsuit against Marriott and the Jane Doe who accused him of sexual harassment in order to refile in Arizona, where the suit has more jurisdictional relevance. 

The case was previously filed in Texas and federal courts, but that presented several procedural hurdles, according to Irvin’s attorney. 

The refiled lawsuit now names several defendants, including: Marriott International, Renaissance Hotel Operating Company, hotel employees Diaeldin Waziry, Lee Ann Vinciguerra and Tracy Stoltz, as well as Irvin’s accuser, listed as ‘Jane Doe.’ 

The 57-year-old was in Arizona in early February to cover Super Bowl LVII, but was released from his broadcasting duties and removed from the hotel after a female employee at the Renaissance Phoenix Hotel & Spa accused him of harassing her.

On Friday, in a 28-page motion obtained by DailyMail.com, the hotel chain shared its account of what transpired between Irvin and a female Marriott employee on February 5 at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. Marriott claimed a ‘visibly intoxicated’ Irvin made unwanted sexual advances to the employee, stating she was attractive and asking her if she watched football before making a lewd comment to the woman. 

Football legend and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin has refiled his $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott in Arizona a month after suing the hotel chain in Texas over accusations that he made sexually inappropriate comments to a female employee in Phoenix

Football legend and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin has refiled his $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott in Arizona a month after suing the hotel chain in Texas over accusations that he made sexually inappropriate comments to a female employee in Phoenix 

Irvin was sent home from the Super Bowl after an alleged incident in the lobby of this hotel

Irvin was sent home from the Super Bowl after an alleged incident in the lobby of this hotel 

‘Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable,’ Marriott claimed in its motion. ‘Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big black man inside of [her].’

‘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.’

In Friday’s motion, the hotel chain also challenged Irvin’s side of the story, which he shared at a previous press conference earlier this month.

‘Irvin’s counsel provided a self-serving, inaccurate summary of the video footage Marriott produced, including his claim that the footage proves Irvin did nothing wrong and then turned the microphone over to Irvin to make racially charged statements,’ Marriott claimed in Friday’s motion.

Speaking to reporters on March 8, Irvin characterized the accusations against him as racist.

‘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 the barn, put a rope around his foot and drag him through the mud and hang him by the tree,’ Irvin told reporters on March 8.

The motion seen by DailyMail.com accused Irvin of making unwanted sexual advances, asking the employee 'if she knew anything about having a

The motion seen by DailyMail.com accused Irvin of making unwanted sexual advances, asking the employee ‘if she knew anything about having a ‘big black man inside of [her]”

Two other hotel employees allegedly noticed that their colleague was uncomfortable when they she returned to work. The accuser went to work the next day and reported the incident to her manager, who told her to take the complaint to Loss Prevention, according to the lawsuit.

Marriott’s filing also claimed that after the accuser left the interaction, Irvin turned to another employee, saying aloud, ‘she bad, she bad,’ and ‘I want to hit that.’ He then ‘slapped himself in the face three times, saying ‘keep it together Mike,” according to Friday’s motion.

The accuser was later interviewed by NFL investigators and Irvin left the hotel later that night after being approached by security.

Irvin’s attorney Levi McCathern denied the claims.

‘The allegations are nonsense,’ McCathern said. ‘We need to immediately get Michael back to work, and I believe Renaissance needs to apologize.’

Marriott finally turned over video from the Phoenix, Arizona Marriott hotel after a federal court ordered the chain to do so.

While the chain wouldn’t give him a copy or allow him to record the footage, McCathern says the exchange between the accuser – a hotel worker – and Irvin seemed innocent.

McCathern says the tape shows Irvin and the woman meeting behind a pole before coming into the camera’s view.

The Hall of Fame wideout was pulled from the NFL Network's coverage following the allegation

The Hall of Fame wideout was pulled from the NFL Network’s coverage following the allegation

The lawyer says Irvin was seen touching the woman only four times – twice for a handshake to say hello and goodbye, as well as two touches on the elbow.

‘She never acts upset,’ McCathern said of the woman’s behavior.

‘She doesn’t act like there’s any problems at all.’

In addition to the video, McCathern produced two witnesses via Zoom who were in the lobby when the alleged incident occurred – saying they didn’t see anything inappropriate between the two.

Marriott accused Irvin's legal team (pictured attorney Levi McCathern) of 'providing self-serving, inaccurate summary'

Marriott accused Irvin’s legal team (pictured attorney Levi McCathern) of ‘providing self-serving, inaccurate summary’

The two men who were in a Phoenix hotel lobby the night that Hall of Fame wide receiver Irvin was accused of misconduct with a female employee said they didn’t see him do anything wrong and that his brief interaction with the woman appeared friendly.

Phil Watkins of Australia and Bryn Davis of Philadelphia appeared at a news conference by video link with Irvin and his attorney.

Watkins said he saw ‘nothing at all’ that could be considered inappropriate, and that Irvin and the woman shook hands and laughed.

‘There was nothing untoward out of the interaction,’ and Irvin soon left for the elevator as the woman went back toward the bar, Watkins said.

Irvin’s, accuser has not filed any police complaint with Phoenix police.

In Friday’s filing, Marriott requested to the court to issue a protective order to protect the privacy and safety of people appearing in the video.

Irvin and his attorneys received the unredacted version of the video on Friday.

Irvin and his attorneys received the unredacted version of the video on Friday before sharing it with reporters at Tuesday's press conference (pictured)

Irvin and his attorneys received the unredacted version of the video on Friday before sharing it with reporters at Tuesday’s press conference (pictured) 

Irvin has faced other accusations in the past. 

In 1996, a Cowboys cheerleader claimed that Irvin and Dallas offensive lineman Erik Williams sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, but the accuser later pled guilty to perjury and filing a false police report.

That same year, Irvin was arrested with cocaine and exotic dancers at a hotel room, later pleading guilty to drug possession. He would be arrested for cocaine possession again in 2001, although those charges were ultimately dropped.

In a civil suit, Irvin was accused of sexual assault at a Florida casino in 2007. He filed a counterclaim and the two sides settled out of court.

Florida prosecutors declined to charge Irvin over accusations he drugged and sexually assaulted a 27-year-old woman in March of 2017 due to a lack of evidence.

Irvin told reporters in July of 2017 that he has lost ‘millions’ of dollars in endorsements and business deals as a result of the claims made against him. He also said he was ‘devastated’ by the allegations, partly because they were made by a young woman he considered to be a friend.

The woman claimed she was at a bar in Miami with Irvin when they decided to go to his room at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Shortly after arriving at the room, she claimed she began to feel sick and the last thing she remembered was trying to fight Irvin off, she told police at the time.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks with NFL Network reporter Michael Irvin during Super Bowl Opening Night at Footprint Center. He would be removed from NFL Network's Super Bowl coverage later that week

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks with NFL Network reporter Michael Irvin during Super Bowl Opening Night at Footprint Center. He would be removed from NFL Network’s Super Bowl coverage later that week 

She told police she did not remember anything else until she woke up the next morning. After taking an Uber home about 7:30am, she called police to report the alleged drugging and rape.

The State Attorney’s report, obtained by TMZ, detailed how the woman’s toxicology report found she had cocaine and MDMA in her system. She also recorded a BAC of 0.10.

The gossip website reported at the time authorities also found no traces of Irvin’s DNA after a vaginal swab.

Irvin has repeatedly denied the allegations and said ‘nothing happened’ on the night in question.

Furthermore, in 2018, he and fellow NFL Network host Eric Davis were accused of sexual harassment by a freelance makeup artist, who named both in a lawsuit against the league.

‘Davis [would] force his genitals against Plaintiff and he would also rub his genitals on Plaintiff’s leg,’ according to the complaint, which was later dropped.



Read More: Cowboys legend Michael Irvin refiles $100m defamation lawsuit against Marriott in Arizona

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