49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards has filed a lawsuit in Michigan against a restaurant and three employees that are at the center of an August 1 brawl that might have cost Edwards free agent bucks. Edwards is suing for slander, extortion and malicious prosecution.
A fight broke out at the restaurant and allegations surfaced regarding the involvement of Edwards and family members. Two of Edwards' cousins were charged with felonious assault in the case. There are no charges pending against Edwards but he claims he subsequently received text messages from three guys at the restaurant who said they would go to the police and file a complaint if he didn't pay them. They also reportedly put out "false, misleading and or negligent statements" to police and the media, declaring that Edwards was directly involved in the incident.
Edwards is asking for damages in excess of $14 million because he believes the slanderous comments cost him an offer of $15 million in guaranteed money. According to the suit, Edwards had an offer on the table that included the guaranteed money but it was rescinded after the allegations surfaced. This led to Edwards being "forced to take a contract [with] only $1 million in guaranteed money."
Whatever the outcome of this case, I think Edwards deserves credit for sort of putting his money where his mouth is. While he has the money to afford the lawyers for this suit, we rarely see athletes fight back against what they believe are bogus charges. While a lawsuit doesn't mean you have to believe Edwards, I'm more willing to believe someone who fights back when he believes he has been wronged.