Faced with a $100 million lawsuit filed by Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, Marriott is hoping for an early exit.
Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, Marriott has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint that Irvin filed 18 days ago.
Marriott argues that it doesn’t own the Phoenix hotel at which Irvin engaged in some type of alleged wrongdoing, prompting a complaint to NFL Network and, in turn, Irvin’s removal from Super Bowl-week programming. Instead, Marriott says it only “leases its brand” to the owner of the property.
That may not matter. The hotel is a Marriott location. It’s hard to imagine Marriott avoiding responsibility based on the technical legal relationship between the corporation and the actual owner/operator of the hotel, especially if the hotel identifies itself as a Marriott property.
The paperwork filed by Marriott also sheds light for the first time on the specific allegation made against Irvin. Via Kaplan, Marriott claims that Irvin made “harassing and inappropriate comments.”
That’s a far cry from the vague notion that he engaged in some sort of offensive physical touching or contact. And it likely will make the surveillance video far less relevant, since it won’t include audio.
Marriott’s claim also will make the discovery process critical on the question of what the employees of the hotel specifically said to NFL Network. Whatever it was, it was enough to get NFL Network to shut him down.
Likewise, it will be interesting to know whether the hotel employees identified themselves as Marriott employees when making the complaint. Because Marriott is a long-time NFL sponsor, complaints from Marriott would be more likely to resonate with NFL Network than complaints from a chain that doesn’t give the NFL a lot of money every year.
Ultimately, someone may be giving Irvin a lot of money for jumping the gun and/or telling tall tales about his behavior. Absent a quick settlement, this case could reveal plenty of intriguing facts about the communications and other discussions that resulted in NFL Network moving so swiftly to take him off the air.
Perhaps, as the evidence eventually may demonstrate, too swiftly.