DALLAS (AP) — Two men who were in a Phoenix hotel lobby the night that Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin was accused of misconduct with a female employee said Wednesday 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.
Irvin has filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against a “Jane Doe” and Marriott International Inc., alleging that a false misconduct claim on Feb. 5 caused him to be kicked out of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel hotel and removed from the NFL Network’s Super Bowl week coverage.
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 has insisted he did nothing wrong during the encounter with the woman and went to his room alone. He has said there was no inappropriate physical contact.
Irvin’s attorney, Levi McCathern, complained that Marriott has not adequately provided him with video footage of the encounter. McCathern said he was allowed to watch a short video in Marriott’s attorney offices on Tuesday but was not allowed to take a copy or make one.
The video showed Irvin and the woman meet and shake hands, and Irvin twice touched her elbow before leaving, McCathern said.
McCathern said he asked a judge to order Marriott to provide him with a copy.
“The allegations are nonsense,” McCathern said. “We need to immediately get Michael back to work, and I believe Renaissance needs to apologize.”
Marriott officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Irvin, who appeared to tear up briefly at the new conference, complained that he hasn’t yet been allowed to see the video. And he compared the allegations and resulting fallout to Jim Crow-era persecution of Black men.
“I couldn’t even tell you what she looked like,” Irvin said. “This just blows my mind, that in 2023 we still dragging and hanging brothers by a tree.”