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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Law

NFL Kicker Sexually Assaulted Attendants on Team Flight, Lawsuit Says

  • Two women say Brandon McManus ‘grinded up against’ them during meal service, ESPN reports.
  • The kicker’s lawyer called the lawsuit ‘an extortion attempt.’
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

NFL kicker Brandon McManus and the Jaguars are the subjects of a sexual assault lawsuit filed Friday in Florida. The suit, filed anonymously by two flight attendants, says McManus inappropriately touched the women on the team’s September 2023 flight to London.

ESPN quoted from the suit and McManus’s employers and attorneys acknowledged its existence, though it is not yet in Duval County public records. According to ESPN, the suit says McManus and his teammates turned the flight into a party, invading the flight attendants’ personal space while McManus handed out money in an attempt to get the woman to drink and dance for him. The suit says McManus tried to kiss one of the plaintiffs while she was seated because of turbulence, during which she made eye contact with another player who she says looked ashamed, and that McManus “grinded up against” both women during meal service, ESPN wrote.

McManus’s attorney, Brett R. Gallaway, called the allegations “absolutely fictitious and demonstrably false,” and accused the women of “an extortion attempt” in a statement to ESPN.

The lawsuit says the team failed the flight attendants by allowing the sexual misconduct to happen. Both women said they suffer from “severe mental anguish, anxiety, psychological and emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation,” ESPN wrote, and they were removed from the primary crew for Jaguars charter flights. The women are seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $1 million.

“We’re aware of the complaint, and we acknowledge the significance of the claims,” the Jaguars said in a statement. “As we continue to look into the matter, it bears emphasizing that we insist on an organization built by people who represent our community and game with the highest character and class.”

The women are represented by Tony Buzbee, who handled cases for many of Deshaun Watson’s victims. Buzbee posted news of the suit on Instagram on Tuesday, writing in the caption that his firm tried and failed to avoid taking the matter to court.

“Our efforts at resolution were met with arrogance, ignorance and stupidity, strikingly similar to how Deshaun Watson’s team responded when we tried to resolve those cases pre-filing,” Buzbee posted. “The allegations made in this lawsuit are very serious. We made sure to fully vet them and speak to witnesses before even taking the cases. We will pursue this case with the same tenacity we are known for.”

Watson and the Texans ultimately settled dozens of cases out of court, and he was suspended 11 games by the NFL and fined $5 million by the league.

McManus went undrafted but found his way to Denver, where he spent nine seasons and earned a Super Bowl ring before signing with Jacksonville in 2023. He went 30-for-37 in field goal attempts and hit all 35 of his extra points for the Jaguars. He signed a one-year deal with the Commanders in March.

The Commanders said in a statement that they were aware of the suit and that “we take allegations of this nature very seriously.”

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