May 31, 2009
Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall defended himself Sunday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines," which detailed seven reported incidents of domestic violence.
Rasheedah Watley, Marshall's longtime girlfriend, appeared on the show to talk about the alleged incidents. She said that Marshall once choked her on the bed.
"Like, really, really choked me," Watley said.
"I've never put my hand on Rasheedah Watley," Marshall said later. The pair split in March of 2008.
The show played 911 calls from Watley during an incident in which Marshall allegedly blocked a taxi cab carrying Watley from leaving his apartment complex, and another from Watley's friend after she reportedly tried blocking Marshall from leaving a hospital parking lot. Watley's friend claimed Marshall rammed her car with his sport utility vehicle and threatened to throw a rock at her car.
Watley claims to have been punched and slapped by Marshall, and said she once ended up getting stitches after her leg was cut by a kitchen knife, which she said she grabbed during an argument with the receiver.
"I remember telling my friend and her mom, ‘I'm like a battered girlfriend, what the hell is wrong with me, why am I in this situation,'" a crying Watley said.
Watley's parents also appeared on the show. They said Broncos executive director of player and organizational development Betsy Klein called them and said Watley should give Marshall a second chance.
Watley's mother said the Broncos handled the situation "horribly" and she blames the franchise more than Marshall for her daughter being "victimized." Klein is no longer with the club.
The Broncos did not comment to ESPN.
The show reported that Marshall's attorney received an e-mail from Watley's attorney asking for $100,000 in exchange for no charges being filed. A later e-mail to Marshall from Watley's attorney requested $500,000.
"It's evident this is clearly about money," Marshall said.
During his interview, Marshall pointed out inconsistencies and changes in Watley's story to police in a couple of the alleged incidents. ESPN reported that Watley sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying Marshall never had abused her, and recanted that later.
Marshall, who served a one-game suspension last year stemming from his legal incidents, said during the interview that he wasn't perfect and made mistakes.
"Sometimes you have to look in the mirror," Marshall said. "I think in the past I haven't done a great job of putting myself in the best of environments to uphold that image of a professional athlete."