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Brandon Marshall: “I Have Never Put A Hand To Rasheeda Watley”

Immediately following a lengthy Outside the Lines report aired this morning on ESPN regarding domestic violence allegations from a former girlfriend, Denver Broncos star wide receiver Brandon Marshall denied ever hitting Rasheeda Watley. “I have never put a hand to Rasheeda Watley,” Marshall said during a live interview with Bob Ley. “Look at the facts dating back to the first incident. I tell them my side of the story. I stand here with facts.” The investigative report from John Barr, which included 911 tapes, interviews with Watley and her parents, photos of injuries, including a cut on her thigh from an alleged knife wound inflicted by Marshall that required stitches, as well as police reports, portrayed Watley as a repeated victim of domestic violence. “I’m really a battered girlfriend,” Watley said. The report also included an e-mail from Watley’s attorney to Marshall’s attorney, stating that if Marshall paid $100,000 then Watley wouldn’t press charges. One year earlier, Watley’s attorney e-mailed Marshall asking for $500,000, but money was never exchanged and the couple reconciled. During today’s interview, Marshall said he stood behind this statement he made to a Denver television station last year: “I respect women. I never put my hand on her.” When asked to explain Watley’s injuries, Marshall replied, “At this point, I don’t know what’s fictional and what’s real,” alleging that Watley was making things up. Marshall said that his lawyer has subpoenaed an Atlanta police offier who will refute Watley’s allegation about a domestic violence incident in 2008 that has resulted in pending charges against him. Last season, Marshall eventually served a one-game suspension and was fined two game checks last year after initially being suspended for three games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. During the interview with Marshall, ESPN replayed a 911 tape where he was allegedly trying to force his way into Watley’s taxi cab in Colorado. “I’m upset,” Marshall said when asked to explain what happened. “I’m not here to justify who’s wrong and who’s right. I’m here to show the facts. It’s evident that this is clearly about money. . . . She took my Blackberry. I tapped on the glass to get the taxi driver’s attention.” When pressed by Ley about why he’s repeatedly involved in these sort of incidents, Marshall defended himself again and noted that Watley has changed her story several times. “As a professional athlete, there’s a certain standard you should uphold,” Marshall said. “There’s a certain image I have to protect. The NFL shield not only represents me, but everybody involved in it. I have to do my best to protect it. ... I’m not here to bash her. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I made mistakes.” Engaged to a different woman now, Marshall and his fiancee were arrested in March with disorderly conduct charges that were quickly dropped following an argument in Atlanta. “It was simply an argument,” he said. “They got it wrong. I’m thankful they took care of it and threw it out.” When asked again by Ley why he’s continually at the center of these type of alleged incidents, Marshall said: “Sometimes, you’ve got to look in the mirror. I haven’t put myself in the best of environments.” During the report, Watley and her parents made several allegations. In an alleged incident never reported to police, Watley said: “He choked me on the bed. He really choked me.” Watley and her parents also said that they told the Broncos about the problems with Marshall and team officials told her that she should give him a second chance. Watley’s mother said that she felt like the Broncos had handled the situation horribly and victimized his daughter. Watley’s father said the NFL and the Broncos should be ashamed of themselves. The Broncos declined an interview request to respond to Watley’s allegations. The report also included an e-mail from Marshall to Watley where he allegedly wrote: “Please don’t take everything away from me.” Depending upon the outcome of the Atlanta case that has a June trial date, Marshall, who’s recuperating from hip surgery, could face further punishment from the league office.