Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall wasn’t supposed to speak today. At Halas Hall, today was a day for defense, with defensive coordinators, Lance Briggs and Jared Allen slated to talk to the media.
Yet Marshall had something to say and he wasn’t going to wait.
Yesterday, attorney Gloria Allred called for commissioner Roger Goodell to be fired because he ignored evidence against Marshall in his past relationship with then-girlfriend Rasheedah Watley. Allred said the abuse Marshall supposedly inflicted on Watley was dismissed by the commissioner and never pursued to its fullest extent.
On Tuesday, ESPN re-aired an “Outside the Lines” piece detailing Marshall’s past, one that sheds a very negative light on his involvement with Whatley.
Yet according to Marshall, ESPN ignored evidence that showed that other side of the story. Marshall brought copies of that evidence to the media session.
“There are things in [the packet] that I’m not going to defend myself but if ESPN would’ve read this stuff or showed this stuff, it would’ve showed a totally different story,” Marshall said. “It would have showed the other side of things. But what ended up happening was, you saw one side. I probably lost $50 million worth of endorsements and salary.
“I thought that giving this stuff to the network, ESPN, they would tell the right story, just to show my side. Just to show both so everyone can heal and grow from this, but they didn’t. They didn’t choose to do that.
“I think ESPN owes my wife and I an apology, because that’s the third time they did it.”
Bear Report was quick enough to grab a copy of the “defense packet.” Let’s break it down.
On the first page is a letter from Bryon K. Evans, M.D., a clinical director who conducted counseling sessions with Marshall and Watley in 2008.
The letter states Watley attended two sessions, both of which were “tense and heated.” It details Watley’s quick temper and her admitting to physical violence.
“Ms. Watley did not deny her physical confrontations. She stated that she can become ‘upset’ during an argument and may escalate to this said behavior. During the joint sessions, Ms. Watley admitted to becoming assaultive stating, ‘When I get upset, I sometimes would hit. This was how I was raised … we would fight.’”
In their final joint session, the statement claims Watley became extremely upset and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
“Ms. Watley’s volatility was describe by Mr. Marshall during my initial therapy sessions, acknowledged by Ms. Watley during the joint therapy sessions and witnessed first-hand by me.”
The second piece of evidence is a court statement from a bailiff who testified that Watley’s claims to abuse, and the bruises from said abuse, were false.
Also in the packet are four different demands for money from Watley’s attorney, Brendan O’Marra. Two ask for $100,000 and one asks for $500,000. The first letter, directed to Marshall, is strongly worded.
“Your conduct is outrageous and criminal,” the letter states. “Please govern yourself accordingly. You are a professional football player. Outrageous and intentional criminal conduct such as this will not bode well if you were to be brought into a state or federal court of law.”
In each demand letter, O’Marra states his client will keep quiet if Marshall meets her demand.
“This demand will remain confidential unless and until the time allotted expires. The settlement will also remain confidential if approved by our client.”
The most damning piece of evidence in Marshall’s packet is a letter written and signed by Watley on July 29, 2008 to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in which she denies any physical abuse. Here is the full statement.
Dear Commissioner Goodell,
My name is Rasheedah Watley, I am the ex girlfriend of Brandon Marshall. I read in the newspapers that he is in trouble with the league because of me. I will let you know that he never hurt me or hit me, I was pressured by my family to make up certain thins to get money. I was told to say that Brandon hit me and hurt me so that I could get him to pay to keep me quiet. I wan you to know he never did.
“I just think that we need to get all the details,” Marshall said. “It doesn't matter if it takes a day or if it takes a month, but we need to get all the details before we can play judge and jury, because there's two sides to a story. There's some things that we don't know and there's time when networks and ESPN will sensationalize their story to get their ratings up or to sell magazines.
“I'm mad at ESPN because [the packet] was made available to them six or seven years ago and they sat in our living room and said that this is a story on your camp and the community thing, but when you watch it, it has nothing to do with that. You guys didn't know I have a camp - the people who watched it - that's what I'm upset about - I just use my story to show why it's important for us to slow down a little bit and get all the facts because there's so many different components and elements to it.”
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.