Gareon Conley Could Be Cleared via Surveillance Footage

Oct 15, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley (8) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State won 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley (8) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State won 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Gareon Conley, who the Oakland Raiders selected 24th overall, may be cleared of any wrongdoing in a surveillance video.

Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders made one of the more shocking picks in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft when they selected Gareon Conley. With recent rape allegations facing the former Ohio State cornerback, it was initially expected that he could be headed towards a free fall.

Conley was widely considered a top three cornerback in this draft class, and was upgraded by many to the number two ranked corner when Sidney Jones when down with an Achilles injury. With Marshon Lattimore being the only cornerback most draft analysts had ranked ahead of Conley, he was being pegged as high as the no. 11 pick to the Saints.

But when rape allegations surfaced, things obviously changed. Kevin Spellacy, who is representing Conley, told that the accusations against his client are “ridiculous and ludicrous”, and he want was far to say the woman making the claims is “an opportunist”.

Conley’s agent surely was just as busy, working with NFL teams to clear his name and salvage his draft stock. But still, with so little time before the start of the draft, the situation had the potential to be similar to that of La’el Collins in the 2016 NFL Draft. While Collins waited for his name to be cleared in a murder investigation, he went undrafted and signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

Per, Conley himself released a statement:

"“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.”"

In the case of Conley, it seems, there is enough evidence that McKenzie was comfortable enough to draft him. Some of that evidence, as Conley mentioned in his statement, includes surveillance video that disputes the initial claim of the accuser. The claim of the accuser is that she first met Conley in an elevator, who then asked her to participate in a foursome and later raped her in a hotel room.

But according to TMZ Sports:

"“The woman accusing Gareon Conley of rape was friendly with the NFL prospect at a bar roughly 25 minutes before they ended up in a hotel room together … and TMZ Sports has the video.The footage shows Conley leaving the Barley House in Cleveland around 2:20 AM on April 9th … with the accuser and her female friends following closely behind. At one point the accuser reaches out and touches Gareon’s back.A few minutes later, Conley has his arm around another woman in front of the bar and the accuser catches up from behind and grabs his arm. Gareon looks back and appears to hold her hand.The video is critical because it appears to contradict what the accuser told police — that she first met Conley in an elevator at the Westin hotel around 2:45 AM. “"

So the video, which TMZ has on their website, disputes the claim made by the accuser. And although that does not necessarily clear Conley of any wrongdoing that may have taken place later in the evening, it does discredit her initial statement. Which naturally leads to questions about how truthful the rest of her statement is.

To help prove his innocence, Conley volunteered to take a polygraph test.

A rape kit was administered, and Conley also said he will provide DNA to be tested. Still, despite all of this, the Raiders have and will face some blowback for the selection of Conley.

Must Read: Instant Analysis of Gareon Conley Pick

But if he does in fact get cleared, which seems likely given what we know so far, McKenzie landed a player expected to be a top 15 pick at 24th overall.

Conley stands at 6′ and 195 pounds, and has long arms, which McKenzie loves. He has 4.44 speed and elite agility. He mostly played on the outside at Ohio State, but he has the quickness needed to play the slot. Which he could do in his rookie season with David Amerson and Sean Smith on the outside. But he has the size and talent to play outside long-term, which he proved in college.