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Statement on Rodney Austin, Detroit Lions

April 21, 2015

Updated as of 8:56pm EST to add information about the State of North Carolina magistrate warrant system.

Rodney Austin was released today by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.  His release coincides with an ongoing legal issue in Charlotte, North Carolina, that centers on an alleged domestic assault.  Rodney denies the allegations.

The State of North Carolina’s legal system is unique in allowing individuals to go directly to a magistrate office alone and request a warrant to be issued against another person based only on a statement.  This is why the presumption of innocence is so important in this case, as it is in all cases.

The facts at issue are as follows:

  1. On April 5,  Miss Yvonne Gill-Sadler called the police alleging a domestic assault against her and Rodney’s 9-month old baby.  The police arrived, interviewed Miss Yvonne Gill-Sadler,evaluated the baby and Ms. Yvonne Gill-Sadler, found no signs of injury, and left without issuing warrants or making any arrests.
  2. On April 16, eleven days later, Miss Gill-Sadler went to a Magistrate Judge and alleged the same incident. The Magistrate Judge issued a warrant for Rodney’s arrest.  Rodney turned himself in once he became aware of the warrant, and was released the following morning.

Rodney has asked his attorney, Mark Jetton of Jetton & Meredith in Charlotte, North Carolina, to release every document relating to this incident to the press so that facts can form the foundation of news stories and discussions.

Believing these allegations to be retaliatory in nature due to an ongoing issue over child custody and disagreements over the future of their relationship, Rodney has instructed Jetton & Meredith to pursue civil charges against Miss Gill-Sadler for malicious prosecution, defamation of character and slander.

Domestic violence in America is a serious issue, and we owe it to every woman or man who suffers at the hands of another to make every legal and cultural change we can so that justice can be done.  This must include ensuring that no one can wield false allegations as a weapon designed to damage another person.

Rodney has been with the Lions organization for more than two years, and he knows they are good people.  He understands that domestic violence is a very charged subject around the National Football League because of incidents that have occurred with other players, and that within that context club executives often feel they must remove even the possibility of problems to preserve the integrity of the club.  Rodney looks forward to future opportunities to rejoin the team once he has cleared his name.

Mark Jetton
Jetton & Meredeth PLLC
704.859.4224 (office)
704.900.4600 (mobile)