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Raiders on Drafting CB Gareon Conley Despite Rape Probe: ‘We Did Miles and Miles of Research’

Gareon Conley
Gareon Conley

*Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said his team did “miles and miles of research” on former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley before drafting him with the No. 24 overall pick Thursday night, “to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

Conley was long considered a top defensive prospect in the NFL draft. But his stock fell after reports surfaced earlier this week that he was being investigated by Cleveland police after a woman accused him of raping her at a downtown Cleveland hotel on April 9.

The 21-year-old, who has not been charged or arrested, has agreed to meet with detectives Monday and will submit his DNA, attorney Kevin Spellacy said. Conley released a statement Wednesday calling the allegations “completely false.”

Apparently, the Raiders agree. McKenzie said he discussed the Conley pick with Raiders owner Mark Davis before making the selection.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process and we trust our research, reports, everything we have on Mr. Conley, and we feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raider team and having him be a great teammate for our players,” McKenzie said.

“The research was done, and it wasn’t just a gut [instinct]; it was based on research, and we are very confident in all the information that we gathered.”

Conley, who is flying to Oakland on today (April 28) before his meeting with police Monday, said after Thursday night’s first round that he is “very confident” the accusation against him “will be resolved.”

“I took a [polygraph] test today; that helps … and all the evidence I have, I feel confident that it will be resolved,” he said.

Spellacy told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that his client had submitted to a polygraph test and had passed it. That information was shared with NFL teams.

Below is the full statement Conley released through his representation:

The allegations against me concerning the night of April 8/9 that have recently been reported in multiple media outlets are completely false. I did not commit a crime and have not been charged with a crime.

I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field. The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don’t fit my character at all. I realize that I put myself in the situation and I could have used better judgement. However, I have worked tirelessly to put myself in position to have the honor of being an NFL draft pick and these untrue allegations are putting a huge cloud over my name and the NFL draft.

These allegations appear to be an attempt to ruin this once in a lifetime experience for me and my family. There were several witnesses, including another female, who were present the entire time and have given statements that give an accurate account of what took place. We also have video evidence that further discredit and disprove other versions of these events. I am upset but realize that I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion. It’s sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.

I am completely confident that as the facts actually come out my name will be cleared. I was excited about participating in Thursday’s draft but I have decided that it would be selfish for me to stay and be a distraction to the NFL, the other players, and their families who have worked just as hard as me to enjoy the experience so I will not be in attendance.

I hope and look forward to the honor of being an NFL player and working to be the best representative, player, person, and teammate that I can be for the team and the community I will be in.

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