Whenever a pro athlete is accused of doing something he shouldn’t have done to another person, the athlete often claims that the alleged victim is trying to make a quick buck. In the case of Titans receiver Damian Williams, that’s precisely what was happening.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that 22-year-old Shelly Ann David has been charged with attempting to extort $5,000 from Williams. David had filed a domestic relations complaint against Williams earlier this month, after she claimed that Williams had grabbed her arms during an argument, causing bruising. (The bruising was confirmed, but Williams disputed the accusations.) After authorities learned that David had sent text messages to Williams offering not to pursue the matter in exchange for a cash payment, Williams offered $5,000 — and David offered to sign a note indicating that she would not pursue the matter.
“Damian Williams, in the presence of detectives, placed a phone call to Shelley David this morning and arranged for a meeting,’’ Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said, per Wyatt. “David received a $5,000 cashier’s check from Williams and gave him a signed note saying she would not appear in any court proceedings against him. At that point she was taken into custody.”
So how is this any different than David hiring a lawyer to negotiate a confidential settlement of case, which would have included an agreement not to file suit or press charges or talk about the situation? It’s not as if David is fabricating a claim of rape or something particularly heinous. She claimed that Williams caused bruising on her arms, and she had bruising on her arms.
Also, her willingness to sign a document indicating that she wouldn’t appear in any court proceedings indicates a lack of intent to break the law — or the presence of a high degree of stupidity. (Or possibly both.)
Thus, absent proof that she inflicted the bruises on her own arms, it could be that David’s only crime came from her failure to hire a lawyer to legitimize the process of settling the matter.
UPDATE: Williams’ counsel has sent a statement to PFT on his client’s behalf. “It is an unfortunate fact that professional athletes are vulnerable as targets for those who would exploit them for economic gain,” the statement reads. “Regrettably, Mr. Williams was threatened and wrongfully accused in an attempt to gain leverage over him. Mr. Williams has cooperated with law enforcement from the outset of the investigation and they have his full support moving forward.”