Michael Irvin compared Marriott’s handling of a hotel employee’s misconduct allegation to lynching in a Wednesday news conference at his attorney’s office in Dallas.
The media availability was the latest twist in Irvin’s quest to view the footage from the Feb. 5 alleged incident at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel that led the former Dallas Cowboys star to be suspended as an NFL Network Analyst. Irvin, who was in Phoenix to work Super Bowl LVII, retold how he was forced out of the hotel the morning after the incident over the unspecified allegations made by a woman employee.
“This sickens me,” Irvin said. “This takes me back to a time where a white woman would accuse a Black man of something, and they’d drag him through the mud and hang him by a tree. … It just blows my mind that in 2023 we are still dragging, and hanging brothers.”
Irvin said he had not seen the video that a federal judge in Texas granted access to last week. His attorney, Levi McCathern, viewed the footage ahead of a Tuesday deadline. Still, he filed a motion Wednesday — part of a $100 million lawsuit filed against Marriott — to get a copy of the interaction that led to the allegation of misconduct.
“To not listen to the court, Marriott is above the law because I still haven’t seen this tape,” Irvin said. “I want to see what I’ve been accused of. Why did that put my whole life on hold? Why does my family have to endure [this]? If I did something wrong, I’ll suffer the consequences of me doing something wrong.
“But if [Marriott] did something wrong, then they should suffer the consequences of what they did wrong.”
Minus the video to show reporters, McCathern described what he saw.
“This is a public lobby with tons of people going back and forth,” McCathern said. “When they first greet each other, they shake hands, and Michael starts to talk. … He shakes her hand at the beginning. He shakes her hand at the end. He, one time, touches her on the elbow as many of you who have interviewed Michael know [he] does when he talks. One other time, he buckles over laughing, and he kind of brushes her with his hand against her other elbow.
“That is it. She clearly never acts upset. She doesn’t back away from Michael. She doesn’t act like there’s any kind of problem going on there at all. The conversation lasted about a minute and a half.”
Two witnesses also spoke via Zoom at the news conference, neither describing anything amiss about what took place in a bar area of the hotel. Neither Irvin nor McCathern took questions.
“Repeated attempts were made to get the Renaissance to interview [witnesses] to clear Michael’s name,” McCathern said. “He has been taken off of NFL Network. He’s been taken off a show on ESPN [First Take]. Obviously, he’s very, very eager to clear his name and clear up these allegations. Well, how do you do that when you don’t even know what you’re being accused of? And how do you do that when the people that are making the allegations won’t tell you what they are?”
Marriott and its attorneys representing the hotel chain in the case did not return calls from Front Office Sports. But on Wednesday afternoon, Marriott’s attorneys wrote in a filing that it “fully complied with the court’s order and produced the video recording in accordance” with court rules.
“Neither the court’s order nor plaintiff’s corresponding request requires that plaintiff be provided a copy of the video or that he be allowed to make his own copy,” Marriott’s attorneys wrote in the filing.