Brandon Marshall said ESPN owes him and his wife an apology after the network aired an edited version of its 2012 profile of the Chicago Bears wide receiver this week with information about domestic violence accusations from several years ago.
"I refuse to sit back and continue to let ESPN or any other outlet exploit my story," Marshall said in a lengthy statement given Thursday to the press.
After the ESPN profile re-aired, Marshall was publicly brought into the NFL's controversy over domestic violence Wednesday by a woman claiming he assaulted his former girlfriend several times in 2007. (Full disclosure: Brandon Marshall worked as an analyst for NBC 5 in 2013.)
Kristeena Spivey, a friend of Marshall's former girlfriend, Rasheedah Watley, said she brought the abuse case to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2007, and he ignored her pleas for help. She said while Goodell initially told her he would look into the incident, she never received a follow-up from the league.
Brandon stuck up for Goodell Thursday and told the media the commissioner did his due diligence to get all sides of the story, even sending executives to his home twice to talk with him and the Watleys.
Ahead of Thursday's press conference, Marshall passed out a 12-page packet of information related to the case, including a letter from his ex-girlfriend to Goodell admitting she was pressured to make things up.
Marshall condemned ESPN for not reading the court documents and public records before airing the profile.
"I try not to get defensive," he said, "but I am because it's been six or seven years, and watching that ESPN piece run again and be depicted as if it was today when it was shot two years ago, and them sitting in my living room in front of my wife and tell us this is about your camp and community event, it pissed me off."
Marshall said he grew up surrounded by domestic violence, revealing his mother was mentally, physically and sexually assaulted. Pointing to the current state of the NFL where Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Dwyer are dominating the headlines, Marshall called the situation "sad."
"I think the current climate is a shame, but I do know the NFL can change lives and influence to mold the culture," he said. "Whether we are wearing green, pink or orange, it’s sweet because we can make a difference."
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery issued a statement saying Marshall has the "full support of the Chicago Bears." He praised Marshall, saying he "has been at the forefront of mental health awareness and has extended himself in an unprecedented way to help fellow players across the NFL."
Marshall has always denied abusing Watley and he has stayed out of trouble since being diagnosed and treated for borderline personality disorder, but these accusations of negligence on the part of the NFL in handling this situation surely demand an answer both from the receiver and from the Bears.
Topics I'll be talking about tomorrow = Current state of the NFL. Roger Goodell. Domestic Violence. ESPN and using my case to show why — Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) September 18, 2014
Cont:) why i think we need to have the right systems in place before we act. — Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) September 18, 2014