Leinart Responds To Party Photos

As you might have heard yesterday, USC quarterback Matt Leinart was spotted at NYC hotspot Marquee after finishing third in Heisman voting on Saturday night and according to the emailer who sent us the photos, he hit on a Texas woman — described as "one of the nicest people" by one of our commenters — who slapped him.

Well, Leinart has addressed the accusation and the evening, and he says it never happened. (The accusation, that is; the evening happened.)

"She didn't slap me," said Leinart in an exclusive interview. "And I didn't grope her."

His story is corroborated by Sports Illustrated writer Arash Markazi, a recent USC grad who was with Leinart all evening. Though it's important to note that Markazi isn't exactly Gary Smith — in fact, his SI archive reveals him dangerously close to a Leinart sycophancy; let's just say a search brings up a lot, and at the very least Leinart is Markazi's binkie — he points out that Leinart was mobbed by fans and that if he had been slapped, there would have been a larger commotion than there was. Which seems believable. "I just laugh at this," Leinart told insideusc.com. "I mean, come on, I have a girlfriend I love." Which, uh, doesn't seem believable.

But no matter: We want to believe it all, so we probably will. After all, this is the Matt Leinart of the "we might want to step over there a few feet." He seems like a likable guy, so, as far as we're concerned, he is.

And we still think USC is gonna kick Texas' ass. Sorry.

Matt Leinart's Big Post-Heisman NYC Adventure [Deadspin]
Athlete Run-In: Matt Leinart's Surprise [Deadspin]

(It's worth noting, by the way, that even though we might cast a little doubt on Leinart's and Markazi's stories, they're certainly more reliable sources than the random dude who emailed the pictures to everyone yesterday. Definitely worth noting.)