Woman sues Chicago Bears player over altercation

A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Bears defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. for an altercation stemming from a 2020 team trip, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In a complaint filed in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, last month, Joann Blakney accused Edwards of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He also accused the Bears of negligent oversight and defamation.

Blakney in his lawsuit also accused Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Jeffery Burton of negligence.

According to the complaint, Blakney stated that she and Edwards had an on-off relationship dating back to 2012, which became verbally and physically abusive three years later.

Blakney booked a hotel room in October 2020 at the Hilton Charlotte Uptown, where Bears players were staying for their competition against the Carolina Panthers, to meet Edwards, according to the Tribune.

Under the NFL’s then-COVID-19 protocols, Edwards was not supposed to meet or interact with outside parties during the team’s trip.

Blakney, who was pregnant at the time, said she had consensual oral sex with Edwards, but then he turned violent after she declined his request for sex. According to the lawsuit, Edwards knocked her off the ground and began punching her in the face while filming the incident.

The altercation continued when Edwards pulled her out of bed, causing her stomach to hit her body and drag her to the door of the hotel room.

Edwards then hit Blakney on the arm as he entered the elevator after she followed him and filmed him leaving the hotel room, the Tribune reported.

The police report listed Edwards and Blakney as victims, stating that officers responded to a report of “a woman hitting a man with her hand and scratching his forehead.”

According to the lawsuit, Blakney said Burton, who was working as an off-duty security for the hotel, retrieved four unidentified Bears employees to help him respond to the incident.

Later, Bears employees asked Blakney if he wanted or needed money, took Edwards against his wishes and falsely claimed that she was a prostitute, the Tribune noted. Later, Blakney went to a medical facility to receive treatment for his injuries, and stated in his complaint that he suffered a concussion and trauma to his vision and abdomen.

Edwards’ agent, Peter Schaffer, told the Tribune in December that Blakney had consensual sex with his client, claiming the woman was angered by an argument about their relationship, prompting Edwards to leave the hotel to escape a altercation with Blakney.

According to a spokesman for the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court, Edwards, a seven-year league veteran, received a criminal citation on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a woman.

Blakney also faces a minor single assault charge in the incident, a spokesman for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office told the Tribune.

Blankey’s attorney, Arcangela Mazzariello, said a hearing date has been set for May, the Tribune noted.

The Hill has reached out to the NFL for comment.


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