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Judge orders Marriott to turn over video, accuser's identity in Michael Irvin's $100M defamation lawsuit

Michael Irvin remains in the dark about exactly why he was pulled off the air from Super Bowl coverage for NFL Network and ESPN last week.

But a judge in the former wide receiver’s $100 million defamation lawsuit in the matter has ordered the Marriott hotel chain to turn over video recordings and other details in hopes of shedding some light on the allegations.

Irvin was sent home from the site of Super Bowl LVII following a complaint lodged with the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. Irvin maintains that on Feb. 5, he had a brief and amicable conversation with a woman in the hotel lobby, shook her hand, and then went to his room alone.

The woman, who has since been revealed to be an employee of the hotel, complained to management about her interaction with the Hall of Famer. Hotel security then woke Irvin in his room, his lawsuit claims. They escorted him from the property “without any explanation or questions,” and notified the NFL of the situation.

After being excluded from the remainder of Super Bowl Week coverage by NFL Network, Irvin filed a nine-figure lawsuit against the parent company of the hotel as well as the woman, who he claims he had never seen before and has not seen since the incident.

Irvin’s lawsuit accuses the two parties of defamation as well as wrongful interference in a business relationship. The 56-year-old Cowboys icon claims he suffered damage to his reputation and lost out on added income from personal appearances that had to be scrapped as a result of his removal from the airwaves.

Irvin argues he is being “railroaded” as a target of “cancel culture.”

The three-time Super Bowl champ maintains that the interaction with the woman identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe” was in no way physical beyond a handshake, though he admits that he doesn’t remember exactly what was said, as he had been out drinking. Video recordings from the lobby apparently captured the meeting, but Irvin said they were not shown to him; he also has not been told what he supposedly said to the woman.

Local police officials have said no official criminal complaints against Irvin were filed. Representatives for Irvin attempted to speak with the hotel directly about the allegations and provide witnesses to resolve the matter, but those efforts were rebuffed by the Renaissance.

Marriott has, this week, banned Irvin from all its properties, according to the lawsuit.

The Collin County (Tex.) judge in the case has ordered Marriott to submit all video recordings, written reports, and witness statements regarding the incident. They must also provide the name and contact information of the female employee as well as any employers or managers who contacted the league about the episode, and even the names of the league employees who received the original complaints.

The evidence that has already come to light seems to back up Irvin’s version of events.

According to the Dallas Morning News, three witnesses have said they saw the encounter and have even provided photos and videos pinpointing when Irvin’s conversation with the woman happened.

Bryn Davis, Joe Manuele, and Phil Watkins were in the Renaissance bar when they saw Irvin in the lobby with former Cowboys player Michael Brooks. The business associates say the two ex-players were speaking with some fans.

After offering to buy Irvin a drink (which he declined), the four men chatted. The men asked for a group photo; Irvin requested that they all go outside to do so. Those photos were timestamped as having been taken at 11:08 p.m.

Upon re-entering the lobby, Davis says he saw a female employee of the hotel approach Irvin as he walked toward the elevator and start a conversation. The encounter, he says, appeared completely normal and involved no physical contact beyond their parting handshake.

“It was very distinct,” Davis told the DMN. “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.”

Watkins corroborates that account.

“It was a positive, friendly conversation,” the Australian told TMZ. “They had a brief interaction- it was 30, 40 seconds- he kept his distance at all times, stood about a meter away from her, they ended with a handshake, and he literally turned around and went back to the lift.”

Watkins says he neither saw nor heard anything that led him to believe something inappropriate had taken place.

“There was a little bit of laughter. Obviously, a jovial conversation,” he explained. “Nothing untoward for me to actually take notice of what was going on. … She turned around after the conversation, she went back into the bar area or around the bar area, and everyone continued their evening.”

Davis said it was only later in the week, when the woman’s complaint was first reported, that he realized he and his friends had witnessed the event that was making headlines.

“I felt sick when I saw it,” he told TMZ, “because it’s the first time I was ever, firsthand experience where something like that happened that was just fabricated. It was a totally normal conversation.”

Davis even pointed out that none of the men are Cowboys fans and would have no reason to defend him if he were in the wrong.

“I’ll say this, man,” he continued. “I’m from Philadelphia. I grew up and Michael was our enemy. But he’s a super, super, super nice guy, and that’s why I felt like I needed to say something- only because he’s a good dude and to have that happen and have your livelihood or career taken is crazy. It’s not fair, so it was worth coming out and saying something.”

Marriott has been given a deadline of Feb. 20 to comply with the judge’s order to submit materials in the case.

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