A hotel night manager in Ohio reportedly told police that Seattle Seahawks draft pick Frank Clark threatened her and admitted to hitting his girlfriend in a Nov. 15 altercation.
Clark, the Seahawks' second-round pick in the draft earlier this month, was arrested on Nov. 16 and dismissed from Michigan's football team the following day. He was charged with domestic violence and assault following the incident with his girlfriend at the time, Diamond Hurt, at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio. The charges were reduced in April, and Clark pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $250 fine.
A Times report published Friday night cited newly released documents that said hotel manager Stephanie Burkhardt wrote in a statement to police the day after the incident that Clark told her, "I will hit you like I hit her." Burkhardt also said Clark "shouldered her out of the way before leaving." She confirmed the comments in a telephone interview with the Times on Friday.
Records released Friday show that after receiving Burkhardt’s statement via email, Officer Martin Curran of the Perkins Township Police Department phoned her back and asked whether she wanted to press assault and threat charges against Clark. Burkhardt said she did not.
Burkhardt did not mention the comment she attributed to Clark immediately to police the night of the incident or to The Times during an interview earlier this week.
She said she forgot to tell police because she was too exhausted and preoccupied with how Hurt and her siblings were doing. Burkhardt said she left the scene after 1 a.m. and emailed her statement the following afternoon.
Clark has denied striking Hurt and did not elaborate on details of the case during the Seahawks' rookie minicamp in Renton, Wash., on Friday.
"It matters, because at the end of the day, you don't want to be labeled as a woman-beater," Clark told reporters when asked if the perception most have of him bothered him. "But at the same time, it doesn't bother me, because I know what I did do and what I didn't do. I don't want to get into the specifics of the case, but the coaches and the staff here, they had the faith to draft me. They did their jobs, and they showed that faith in me."
The Seahawks have been criticized for not speaking to witnesses who said they saw Hurt apparently unconscious on the ground the night of the incident, but team officials have defended their selection of Clark throughout the process.
"Our organization has an in-depth understanding of Frank Clark's situation and background—we have done a ton of research on this young man," general manager John Schneider said in a statement. "There hasn't been one player in this draft that we have spent more time researching and scrutinizing more than Frank. That is why we have provided Frank with this opportunity, and we look forward to him succeeding in our culture here in Seattle."
- Mike Fiammetta