It probably wouldn’t be accurate to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had an offseason free of controversy, but at least we had gotten through the summer without anybody getting arrested our sued…at least until now.
According to a lawsuit filed today, and individual named Larry Parker is accusing Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert of bodyslamming him, resulting in him suffering a broken leg, among other injuries. The plaintiff is suing him for a sum in excess of $35,000, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Parker claims to be a frequent presence at the Steelers’ UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side of the city, having a number of friends and acquaintances within the organization and among the players.
In fact, he alleges that the incident began when he was returning to the facility after having done a favor for a member of the organization, returning his vehicle after taking it to be serviced. Parker claims that he saw Gilbert in the parking lot, whom he is familiar with, and “voiced a jesting greeting”.
He alleges that Gilbert did not take this kindly, which ultimately resulted in the Steelers lineman sending him a number of threatening texts, and ultimately a request to settle the matter face-to-face, which was obliged.
Parker then claims that Gilbert arrived at his house, making similar comments to those made in the texts and phone exchanges that preceded, whereupon he shoved the 54-year-old several times before putting him in a bear hug and slamming him to the ground, with the 330-pounder landing on top of him.
The plaintiff, in addition to suffering a fracture in his right fibula that required multiple surgeries to attend, suffered an assortment of ailments ranging from bruises to ligament tears, in addition to the aggravation of a previous back injury.
Parker claims that Gilbert consulted with his father following the physical confrontation as to how to proceed, which resulted in the Steeler transporting the plaintiff to the hospital. This incident reportedly occurred back in January.
It is rare that incidents such as these ever prove to be as straightforward as what one side of the discussion presents, and I have no doubt that Gilbert is likely to dispute at least some of what Parker claims to have occurred in the sequence of events.
Either way, however, it doesn’t look particularly good for him, and reflects poorly on the organization by extension. Not that it will evidently cost him much or keep him on the field, but if he essentially assaulted somebody, then that is certainly disappointing, to say the least.
Meanwhile, the Steelers just rewarded their other tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, with a new four-year contract after three years of being a model citizen and ambassador for the organization’s brand. Hopefully Gilbert and the Steelers can put this matter behind them as quickly as possible.