After being accused of sexual assault, Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley said in a statement Wednesday that the claim was merely an attempt to hurt his professional career ahead of Thursday's NFL draft and that he would eventually be exonerated.
Conley did not address specific details of the allegation, but he maintained that "I did not commit a crime."
"I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field," Conley said in a statement sent to USA TODAY Sports. "The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don't fit my character at all. I realize that I put myself in the situation and I could have used better judgment. However, I have worked tirelessly to put myself in position to have the honor of being an NFL draft pick and these untrue allegations are putting a huge cloud over my name and the NFL draft."
No warrant has been issued or charges filed against Conley, though the investigation remains open in the Cleveland Division of Police Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.
According to a police report, Conley met a woman while riding the elevator, and she then joined him in his room. The woman told police, per the report, that Conley asked her to have sex with a couple that was in the bathroom, where she alleges that the assault took place shortly after.
Two witnesses in the hotel room, which was in Conley’s name, told police that an assault did not occur.
"These allegations appear to be an attempt to ruin this once in a lifetime experience for me and my family," Conley said. "There were several witnesses, including another female, who were present the entire time and have given statements that give an accurate account of what took place. We also have video evidence that further discredit and disprove other version of these events. I am upset but realize I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion. It's sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.
I am completely confident that as the facts actually come out my name will be cleared."
A potential early first-round pick, Conley had been among 22 prospects invited by the NFL to attend the draft in Philadelphia. He has opted not to attend the event, saying he did not want to be a "distraction."