SI Vault
 
BAD NIGHTS IN THE NFL
Thomas Lake
April 11, 2011
Early on Jan. 1, 2007, Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot to death after a New Year's Eve party at a Denver nightclub. The police launched a massive investigation that included multiple interviews with two other Broncos who were at the same club that night. But years would pass before the full story came to light
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
April 11, 2011

Bad Nights In The Nfl

Early on Jan. 1, 2007, Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot to death after a New Year's Eve party at a Denver nightclub. The police launched a massive investigation that included multiple interviews with two other Broncos who were at the same club that night. But years would pass before the full story came to light

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WALKER: I couldn't tell you, because I'm the most non-controversy-conflict person whatsoever, and I don't deal with everything. Like ... I walk away from conflict. And if I'm dealing with someone who's my friend, and—when I was dealing with Darrent Williams, he gave me all his jewelry. Which is right here....

Walker reaches into the left front pocket of his blood-stained jeans and pulls out the $50,000 diamond chain. The gold rattles softly in his fingers.

MURRAY: Why would he do that?

WALKER: Because I'm a trustworthy person. So you can't trust too many people. So I say, 'Gimme your jewelry.' I put it in my pocket, just like this....

MURRAY: I don't understand.

WALKER: Well, you know what? He lost his jewelry, because he didn't know where it was. And whenever they found it, when they found it, his mutual friends found it, we found it, and I said, 'O.K., I'm taking it... .' [The sergeant never asks why the chain was lost.] You never understand it, if you're an athlete. Because a lot of people get jealous. And we can't stop doing what we're doing because somebody else is upset about it. And that's what's hard about it... .

MURRAY: I know.

WALKER: It's like you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. But you're doing something you love. But all of a sudden you get cursed by doing what you love.

This curse goes back to the first page of history. It comes of getting what you want, having more than your neighbor and feeling the compulsion to show it off. The curse is an epidemic in modern American sports, which turn poor young men into millionaires overnight and leave them overwhelmed with the complications. There may be quiet satisfaction in watching your personal accounts fill with cash. But for some of the overnight millionaires, the simple condition of being rich is not enough. They have to show everyone. Then comes the curse. You heard Javon Walker: People get jealous.

At least six Broncos and two Nuggets celebrated New Year's Eve 2006 at the Safari nightclub in downtown Denver, and Williams did not win the contest for most expensive piece of jewelry. A rookie wide receiver named Brandon Marshall later told police he was wearing a chain worth $57,000 that night. And although his chain didn't play an important role in the events that led to the shooting, Marshall did. He told a detective he didn't feel safe after the shooting, said he couldn't go to nightclubs anymore, asked about the legal procedures for carrying his gun. "We were outside that limo, so that's probably why they shot at that limo," he said. "If I didn't act rowdy outside the club? It probably wouldn't have happened."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10