GM to Marshall: Read your contract

ByMichael C. Wright ESPN logo
Friday, November 14, 2014

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said Friday that his back-and-forth on Twitter with a Detroit Lions fan about staging a boxing match for $25,000 is an opportunity to raise money to combat bullying.

"Why not? It's Twitter," Marshall said when asked why he engaged the fan. "That's what social networking is for: engagement with other people. It's an opportunity.

"See what you guys don't understand, where you see challenges, I see opportunities. When you read my social network, it says thought-provoker. That's what it is. What's the big deal? Why do y'all care? Why do y'all care? Why do y'all care? It is entertaining, so why is it a big deal? It's entertaining. It's fun."

Apparently general manager Phil Emery didn't feel the same way. When Marshall bumped into Emery in a hallway at the team's facilities Friday, the receiver divulged that the general manager told him, "Read your contract."

Bears coach Marc Trestman, who was informed of the situation minutes before his Friday news conference, said, "The No. 1 thing is that it will be addressed. That's No. 1."

"I've said this many times in here: We're in a new world of social media. We talk to our guys about it. We don't police everything that they do. We ask them to take a deep breath before they press that send button," Trestman said. "Hopefully they make decisions that are in the best interest of their team. But we're not perfect, none of us are."

The Twitter exchange took place Thursday when the Lions fan reminded Marshall of his comment last November when he referred to the Lions as the "little brother" of the Bears. The fan also insulted Marshall's mother, resulting in the receiver challenging the Detroit fan to a boxing match.

Marshall confirmed Friday the challenge was real.

"You think I'm a smart guy? You think I'm a strategic guy?" Marshall asked. "So this is what I want to do, all right? I want to blow this thing even bigger. I want to launch a campaign of anti-bullying. Not a campaign like, 'Oh, we're going to start an organization.' We're just going to have an event.

"We're going to have a nice ring. We're going to have it at my gym. We're going to get some gloves. We're going to try to get maybe Showtime to come out, produce it, and try to raise a lot of money for anti-bullying because that's where the world is going right now with Twitter and Instagram. Everybody wants to hide behind their words. Even sometimes the media wants to hide behind their words and think they're tough guys. So this is an opportunity for [the fan] to do something really nice for some kids, but also back up his words."

Marshall's initial challenge to the fan involved a $5,000 wager, and he later posted on Twitter that if he lost, he'd give up another $10,000. But if Marshall won, the fan would have to serve 100 hours at an orphanage.

The Lions fan later upped the ante, saying that if Marshall made the bet $25,000, the two could fight in Detroit.

After agreeing to the bet, Marshall added: "And you have to apologize to my mom."

The fan didn't respond immediately. So Marshall tweeted: "Deal or no deal bro? This is your chance to back up your talk and make 25k."

The fan later responded, saying the fight could take place if the 3-6 Bears won three more games. He temporarily made his Twitter account private, before turning it back public.

With the club in the midst of a three-game slide and the offense mired by myriad issues, Marshall was asked about the timing of the exchange.

"It doesn't matter about no timing," Marshall said. "I'm a grown man. No timing. Because we're 3-6, you expect me to change who I am? This is who I am. I'm not changing who I am. I'm not trying to impress you. This is who I am. I love to have fun. I'm a thought-provoker, and that's what it is."

The Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Soldier Field.

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