Michael Irvin has filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott International and a female employee who accused him of misconduct.
NFL Network pulled Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage this week after the allegation surfaced. The Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboys receiver told the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that he had a brief interaction with his accuser in lobby of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel where he was staying Sunday night. Per 92ad630e-7409-4163-a4bf-2c5971a748e9, Irvin accuses Marriott of trying to have him "canceled."
Irvin denied any wrongdoing in the interaction and told the News on Wednesday that he’s “baffled” by the accusation. Irvin’s accuser has not been identified and goes by “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit filed by Irvin on Thursday.
The nature of the the allegation is unclear. Phoenix police told the News on Wednesday that there has been no criminal complaint filed against Irvin.
Irvin’s lawsuit lists witnesses who support his claim that no wrongdoing took place during an interaction with his accuser. Irvin told the News that a conversation with his accuser took 45 seconds and concluded with a handshake. Three of Irvin’s witnesses spoke with the News. Marriott has not publicly addressed the lawsuit, and a spokesperson didn’t reply to a request for comment from the News Friday morning.
Per the News’ account of the lawsuit, Irvin states that he was “shockingly woken up by a crew of security” from his hotel room and removed from the property “without any explanation or questions.” Per the lawsuit, Irvin has been banned from all Marriott properties.
A hotel manager then contacted the NFL and informed the league that Irvin had been accused of improper behavior, according to the lawsuit. An NFL Network spokesman told the News on Wednesday that Irvin “will not be a part of NFL Network’s Super Bowl LVII week coverage.” Irving was subsequently removed from a scheduled Friday morning appearance on ESPN’s “First Take,” where he is a regular guest.
Three witnesses named Bryn Davis, Joe Manuele and Phil Watkins told the News that the saw Irving Sunday night in the Marriott’s lounge speaking with fans. The men are business associates and aren’t Cowboys fans, according to the News.
The men told the News that that they offered to buy Irvin a drink then took a photo with him outside the hotel. After returning to the lobby, the men say they saw the female staffer approach Irvin for a conversation.
“It was very distinct,” Davis told the News. “I remember where his hands were because I remember thinking he was in good shape for an almost 60-year-old guy. He leaned over, shook her hand, and I am telling you right now: That conversation was [about] 30 seconds. If it was a minute, I would be shocked. I think 30 seconds.
“Just a normal back-and-forth. … Michael walks toward the elevator. She goes back into the restaurant, and everything is as normal as could possibly be. And that’s it.”
Manuele and Watkins concurred that there was not evidence of inappropriate behavior during the interaction. Irvin’s accuser has not addressed the allegations publicly.
Irvin played 12 seasons for the Cowboys from 1988-99, winning three Super Bowls. He's worked as an analyst at NFL Network since 2009.