Let's make this clear up front: No NFL players are connected to last summer's shooting outside Orlando that left a 15-year-old girl with severe brain damage. But a house at the center of the case was a place where NFL players—specifically, former Jaguars and Rams receiver Mike Sims-Walker and Titans running back Chris Johnson—went to discreetly fuck women other than their wives and girlfriends, as is strongly suggested by the principals in this Orlando Sentinel report.
It's also important to note that Sims-Walker, who last played in the NFL two years ago, actually helped investigators establish their case, according to evidence obtained last week by the Sentinel.
Tyrone Mosby, a gang member, was convicted in March of attempted murder for his role in the shooting of Danielle Sampson on July 29. Sampson, a high school athlete, was struck by a stray bullet while riding in her parents' minivan when gunfire broke out following a burglary at the house, located in Pine Hills, Fla.
Mosby was denied a new trial in Orange County court last month, but the state attorney general is now trying him on additional racketeering charges. Evidence in that case includes a video of the police interview of Chester "Chad" Joseph, a key witness in the shooting investigation, and a cousin to Mike Sims-Walker. In that video, Joseph can be seen name-dropping Sims-Walker, Johnson, and Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who he claimed had never been to the house.
The three players are friends who are all from the central Florida area, and Sims-Walker and Marshall were teammates at the University of Central Florida.
Here's the Sentinel:
Joseph, a resident who describes himself as a "manager" for Sims-Walker and Johnson and a friend of Marshall's, downplays their involvement with the house: "I use their [homes] a lot ... all I was doing was really returning the favor. ... When [the players] come here now, I got somewhere where you can go on and slide you a little chick."
However, he acknowledges that Sims-Walker kept a souped-up car at the home and that Johnson has also been there. He says those two paid him more than $3,000 monthly combined.
An expensive car registered in Sims-Walker's name was at the house at the time of the burglary and the shooting. In the video, Joseph is reluctant to talk about the NFL players' ties to the house and has to be reassured that investigators aren't trying to link the players to any of the crimes.
One of the interrogators, Sgt. David Spall, insinuates that the house had been burglarized because it was known that NFL players often went there. The Sentinel, citing court documents, added that an informant told police the motive for the burglary was a drug deal gone bad—something Joseph denied, though he did admit marijuana had been stolen from the house.
The Sentinel again, this time quoting from the video:
"We can minimize it if we know the truth," says Sgt. David Spall. He adds, jokingly: "Dude, I got Chris Johnson drafted on my fantasy-football team. I don't want nothing ugly coming out of this."
Spall stressed that he was focused on solving the shooting case: "Nobody cares if Chris Johnson, Brandon ... whomever comes to your house to knock boots with a chick. ... Nobody cares if you had ... 500 pounds of prime weed in that house."
The deputies mostly held up their end of that bargain: The players aren't mentioned in the affidavit that led to Mosby's arrest warrant. Other reports made occasional references to Johnson but not the others.
Joseph claims the players paid him to entertain other NFL players when they would visit the Orlando area. The video also shows Sims-Walker entering the interview room and imploring Joseph to be honest with police, after which Joseph can been seen admitting to his interrogators that he had lied about what was taken from the house.
Mosby's attorney is again seeking a new trial, citing the video as evidence jurors didn't get to see. You can watch the police interview below.
Photo credits: Getty