A day after the rape allegations against former Ohio State defensive back Gareon Conley surfaced, the NFL hopeful released a statement, calling the story "completely false."
“These allegations appear to be an attempt to ruin this once in a lifetime experience for me and my family,” Conley said in a statement released by his management team. “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.”
Conley was projected to be a first round selection in the NFL draft, but with the story breaking only days before the draft gets started Thursday, there has been little time for teams to investigate the validity of the story. Even though Conley has not been charged, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, who appeared Wednesday on The Dan Patrick Show, believes the story will affect Conley's draft status.
"He was slated to be likely a top 15 draft pick but is now poised to lose tens of millions of dollars," Rapoport said. "It is difficult to un-ring that bell because at this point owners are involved and they want to know how safe is this person on picking. For a team to pick this guy they would have to be very, very confident (that the allegations are false)."
You can check out Rappaport's comments on the Conley situation here.
Conley was originally planning to attend the NFL draft in Philadelphia but since the story broke has decided to stay away. He has not talked with Cleveland police yet, but will give his side of the story after draft weekend.
“I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field,” Conley said. “The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don't fit my character at all.”
You can read Conley's full statement below:
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 judgment. 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.