Former Chiefs star running back Larry Johnson is being sued for battery, ThePostGame.com has learned.
The accuser is Jon Graney, 47, of Miami, who says he was beaten by Johnson in the early morning of May 7 after attending a party on Miami Beach.
According to the suit, at 6 a.m. that day, after leaving a party, Graney was "approached and attacked by a man who was later identified as Johnson."
The suit goes on to say that Graney was "viciously struck ... numerous times with a closed fist" and "beaten and brutalized by Johnson." The suit also claims Johnson chased Graney down the street after kicking him while he was on the ground.
The suit clams Graney suffered three herniated discs, a torn rotator cuff, and post-traumatic pain in his back, shoulder and wrist. He is suing Johnson for damages in excess of $15,000.
Johnson's agent, reached by phone Thursday, vehemently denied the allegations.
"This is a frivolous lawsuit," said Brian Levy, "meant to extort an NFL player out of his money. Larry was never even questioned or charged."
Graney, a resident of Miami Beach, installs movie theaters into homes. Reached by phone Thursday, his lawyers said he was friends with the person throwing the late-night party. The police report said Graney "appeared to be under the influence of alcohol." Graney's attorney, Jonathan Davidoff, told ThePostGame.com that although his client "had a buzz earlier in the evening, he was not drunk."
Attorney Aaron Resnick added: "He was leaving to go home and he was talking on the phone and he was hit from behind unprovoked."
Asked if Graney had any prior interaction with Johnson that night, Resnick said, "Zero."
An affidavit filed by Armando Prando, a personal driver for a friend of Graney's, claims "a large African American male" approached Graney with his fists clenched "in a punching manner." In the affidavit, Prando says Graney ran into the bushes as "this man wanted to engage in a physical altercation with Mr. Graney." Prando says he then dialed 911.
Johnson's attorney, reached by phone Thursday, also denied the allegations.
"This is a straight money play," Peter Schaffer said. "There's not one bit of evidence. The damages don't correlate to the alleged injuries. And there are racial statements that show incredible bias."
In the police report, Graney is described as having a "minor laceration to his right ear and a small abrasion to his knees." Graney is quoted in the report as saying, "This [expletive] is going down. He needs to learn a lesson. It's going to cost this prick."
Davidoff said his client, who is white, does not recall making those statements. "That's not in his nature," he said. "He absolutely believes those are racist statements. He has friends of all races."
"There has been neither extortion nor blackmail," said Davidoff. "This is a result of Mr. Johnson's most recent violent behavior, and Mr. Graney merely seeks compensation for his injuries and damage."
Johnson was drafted out of Penn State in 2003 and has played for the Chiefs, Bengals and the Redskins. His biggest contract deal was struck in 2007 in Kansas City, which was for a reported six years and $45 million. Johnson rushed for a team-record 1,789 yards on 416 carries in 2006, but he was cut in '09. He played the first two games of the 2010 season before being released by the Redskins. Johnson had 37 combined touchdowns in 2005 and 2006 but only has eight since.
Johnson has been arrested three times since 2003 for various assault charges, and was placed on two years probation in 2009 for two charges of disturbing the peace.
"I understand athletes are targets," Schaffer said. "Larry has been made a target because of his past. But I will not allow my players to be blackmailed or extorted. If [Graney] wants to go to court, we'll go to court."
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