DALLAS — Former Cowboys star Michael Irvin and his attorney on Tuesday released surveillance video showing him interact with a Marriott hotel employee during the week of the Super Bowl, but they say the footage proves Irvin did nothing wrong.
The interaction got Irvin sent home from Super Bowl coverage in February after Marriott alleged he made the employee feel uncomfortable and harassed her.
Irvin, as a result, sued Marriott for $100 million, denying he did anything wrong. And on Tuesday, after obtaining surveillance video from the hotel and re-filing the case in an Arizona court, Irvin and his attorney, Levi McCathern, played the video during a press conference in downtown Dallas.
The video showed Irvin walking through a hotel lobby in Phoenix and interacting briefly with a hotel employee. McCathern said the employee "clearly slows down" to interact with Irvin, and the two began to chat.
A column in the hotel lobby blocked the view of Irvin momentarily, and then he appeared to touch her elbow briefly. The two kept talking back and forth. Toward the end of their interaction, Irvin briefly touched the employee's other elbow, and then Irvin appeared to laugh at something she said. The two then shook hands, and the employee walked away.
"There's no doubt, from watching this, this woman is not offended," McCathern said. "This is not a sexual assault. This isn't sexual harassment. This isn't sexual misconduct. None of that exists here. And I think this tape is very, very clear."
Irvin on Tuesday said he was "so thankful for this video."
"Because without it, I just don't know where this would have gone," Irvin said. "This isn't sexual assault. This is what they're calling sexual assault."
The interaction made the employee "visibly uncomfortable," Marriott attorneys said in a court filing last week.
Irvin during the interaction reportedly asked her whether she knew anything about "having a big Black man inside of [her]," the filing stated. The victim reportedly said the comments were inappropriate and that she didn't want to discuss it further. Irvin then reportedly tried to grab her hand again and said he was "sorry if he brought up bad memories" for her.
The victim reportedly pulled her hand away, the motion details, and tried to back away as Irvin continued moving toward her. Two other hotel employees reportedly noticed the victim's look of concern and began moving toward the two. Irvin reportedly then said "security" had noticed him and extended his hand for another handshake, which she returned, "wanting the interaction to end."
Last week, Irvin, along with McCathern, held a press conference denying the allegations.
"I know I didn't do anything wrong," Irvin said. "I know I didn't do anything wrong. And I was trying to do everything right."
In Irvin's lawsuit, which was initially filed in Collin County where he lives, Irvin's attorneys accused Marriott's employees and management of "inaccurately and inflammatorily" accusing Irvin of misconduct.
The lawsuit said Irvin had a "brief, friendly interaction with a Marriott employee lasting no longer than one minute" as he arrived back at the hotel Sunday night.
"This sickens me," Irvin said at his news conference last week. "Because in this great country, it takes me back to a time when a white woman would accuse a black man of something, and they would take a bunch of guys who are above the law, run in the barn, put a rope around his foot and drag him through the mud and hang him by the tree."