Lawyer: Roger Goodell Ignored Victim Who Accused Brandon Marshall Of Domestic Violence
(CBS) Bears receiver Brandon Marshall is in the spotlight again, as on Wednesday afternoon details of previous domestic violence accusations dating back to 2006 resurfaced when lawyer Gloria Allred took aim at the shortcomings of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by explaining how he ignored domestic violence issues in the past.
Allred is representing Rasheedah Watley, who is an ex-girlfriend of Marshall's, and her family. In statements made at a press conference in Atlanta, Watley's friend Kristeena Spivey, father Clarence Watley and Allred alleged that Goodell was contacted about an incident involving Marshall but never got back to the victims.
Clarence also called for Goodell to step down as commissioner and added the Broncos, for whom Marshall played his first four NFL seasons, did nothing to stop his alleged pattern of domestic abuse. A statement from him Clarence referenced a letter he sent to Goodell and the NFL in August 2008.
"In my letter to commissioner Goodell, I told him that I wanted to express my feelings and distress of how disappointed I was in the way the Denver Broncos had handled this situation since Brandon Marshall's draft into the Broncos organization," Clarence said.
"The Denver Broncos had knowledge of Brandon Marshall's abusive behavior toward our daughter for over 2 1/2 years. In fact, I was contacted by the staff of the Denver Broncos (during Marshall's tenure there) about an abusive incident by Brandon Marshall against our daughter Rasheedah, an incident that I had no knowledge of. I was asked by this staff member to give Mr. Marshall another chance, that he would be able to change. He did change; he became more abusive. I told commissioner Goodell that I had been in contact with the Broncos staff throughout this whole nasty affair in hopes that the Broncos would step in and help our daughter in this situation.
"The Broncos handled this whole situation shabbily and unprofessionally. The Broncos ignored and allowed Mr. Marshall's behavior to go on for three years unchecked with no interest in the safety or well-being of my daughter. I hold the Broncos accountable and maintain that they were a contributing factor to this ongoing abuse because of their lack of genuine concern.
"I told (Goodell) that I was troubled with the fact that he ... had completed his investigation and given out his penalty with no contact to the victim or her family whatsoever. I told him that I was not quite sure how his office conducted an investigation without any contact with the victim, her attorney, her family or any witnesses to this abuse."
To be clear, these aren't new accusations toward Marshall, who announced he has borderline personality disorder three years ago, but Allred and her clients are referencing them in their criticism of Goodell and the NFL. They all want the commissioner to step down.
Allred said she and her clients aren't seeking a lawsuit for damages but rather trying to "improve the process" for fellow victims of domestic abuse. She's trying to shed light on a pattern of behavior in the NFL office.
Marshall tweeted that he will talk to the news media on Thursday.
I'll talk in depth about why something old upset me tomorrow at our weekly sit down with the media. I'm sure @espn won't show that.
— Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) September 17, 2014
The Chicago Bears have said in a statement that quotes General Manager Phil Emery: "Brandon has the full support of the Chicago Bears. We were aware of his personal background when we traded for him in 2012 and equally aware of the tremendous efforts he made to bring positive changes in his life and in the lives of all the people around him.
"Since his arrival, Brandon has thrived in an environment that has been supportive. He has been a very positive, thoughtful and proactive leader and role model. He has acknowledged his past struggles and shared his story in an effort to help others improve their daily lives.
"Brandon has been at the forefront of mental health awareness and has extended himself in an unprecedented way to help fellow players across the NFL. He has helped himself through helping others and we are proud to have him as a teammate."
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