NFL kicker Brandon McManus accused of sexual assault in lawsuit

Two women are suing kicker Brandon McManus and the Jacksonville Jaguars, alleging that McManus sexually assaulted them during the team’s overseas flight to London last year, according to court documents obtained by ESPN.

The two women — identified as Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II in the lawsuit filed Friday night in Duval County Circuit Civil Court — accuse McManus of rubbing himself against them and grinding against them. They also accuse the Jaguars of failing to supervise McManus and failing to create a safe environment for staff serving the team.

They are seeking in excess of $1 million and are demanding a jury trial.

“These are absolutely fictitious and demonstrably false allegations made as part of a campaign to defame and disparage a talented and well-respected NFL player,” McManus’ attorney, Brett R. Gallaway, said in a statement Monday night. “We intend to aggressively defend Brandon’s rights and integrity and clear his name by showing what these claims truly are — an extortion attempt.”

Attorney Tony Buzbee, whose firm is representing the two women, said in a statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday that an attempt to settle the case was made before the lawsuit was filed.

“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. 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,” he wrote in the post.

The Jaguars also acknowledged the lawsuit in a statement Monday night.

“We’re aware of the complaint, and we acknowledge the significance of the claims,” the team said. “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 Jaguars did not re-sign McManus this offseason; he signed a one-year, $3.6 million contract with the Washington Commanders on March 14.

“Earlier today, we were made aware of the civil lawsuit filed on May 24 against Brandon McManus. We take allegations of this nature very seriously and are looking into the matter,” the Commanders said in a statement. “We have been in communication with the League Office and Brandon’s representation, and will reserve further comment at this time.”

According to the lawsuit, the two women worked as flight attendants on the Jaguars’ Sept. 28, 2023, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings charter flight. They allege the flight “quickly turned into a party” as McManus and several other players disregarded the flight attendants’ personal space, air travel safety and federal law. The lawsuit also claims that McManus recruited three other flight attendants to the party and passed out $100 bills to encourage them to drink and dance inappropriately for him.

Doe I accuses McManus of trying to kiss her while she was seated during a session of turbulence and twice grinding up against her while she was serving the flight’s two meal services, per the lawsuit. Doe I alleges during the first assault she made eye contact with another Jaguars player, who she said looked ashamed of McManus’ behavior.

Doe II alleges that McManus grinded up against her while she was serving the flight’s second meal service. Per the lawsuit, Doe II confronted McManus, who “smirked and walked away.” The lawsuit says Doe II remained in the aircraft’s second story to avoid McManus on the team’s flight from London to Jacksonville on Oct. 8.

The lawsuit says the September flight was the first Jaguars charter flight the two women worked, and they have experienced severe mental anguish, anxiety, psychological and emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation. They have been removed from the core crew that staffs Jaguars charter flights, which is something they worked hard to achieve, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges the Jaguars committed gross negligence by failing to properly hire McManus, train him about inappropriate and sexual contact with flight staff, supervise him on the flight, adopt policies and procedures to protect flight staff from sexual misconduct by employees, and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy regarding inappropriate behavior.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that he didn’t want to comment on the lawsuit until new information is gathered, but he did say that Monday was the first time he heard about the allegations against McManus. He also said he would not describe the atmosphere on the chartered flight to London as a party.

“A typical flight is not that way,” he said. “It’s a business trip, and that’s how we approach it from an organizational standpoint, from a league standpoint. So, when I read that, that part of it is disappointing.”

Pederson also said the seating arrangement on the flight is somewhat separated.

“I’m not going to get into a ton of those questions right now until I get more information, but we sit down — I’ll just maybe [make] a brief comment — we do sit down, and we want to make sure that the players are together and the coaches together, staff’s together and things of that nature and everybody’s comfortable and has space,” he said.

McManus signed with the Jaguars on May 5, 2023, after he was released by the Denver Broncos. The Jaguars gave him a one-year contract worth $2 million, and he made 30 of 37 field goal attempts and all 35 of his extra point attempts last season.

ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.

Source link

Related Posts