Oh, man, we’re about to get robbed. That was Ryan Murphy’s thought when the two sedans ominously pulled up on either side of the car he was sitting in. From the front passenger’s seat of the Ford Fusion parked at a gas station, he breathed a sigh of resignation and reached for his wallet. Growing up in Oakland, he had seen this maneuver before and figured he knew what was coming. It was Feb. 2, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif., and Murphy had had designs on enjoying his off-day. A safety on the Broncos’ practice squad, he was with the team for Super Bowl 50, though he knew he wouldn’t dress for the game. On this Tuesday he planned to catch a ride back to his hometown, an hour or so away, and surprise his mother and grandmother with tickets. When his teammate from high school, Greg Peirson, picked him up at the Santa Clara Marriott, Murphy noticed a woman in the backseat. Murphy says they didn’t speak, deciding that the less he knew, the better. “I didn’t know if it was a girlfriend or maybe a side chick,” he says. “I figured he’d drop her off and we’d get home.” After driving a few miles they pulled up to a gas station, adjacent to a Motel 6. The woman got out; Murphy assumed it was to buy a snack or use the restroom. After a few minutes, the two other cars boxed in Murphy and his friend. Two men dressed in plainclothes ordered Murphy out of the vehicle, flashing badges and yelling, “Hands up.” As other officers followed on foot and began to search the car, a woman emerged from a nearby van. It was Lisa Guerrero of Inside Edition—who ironically had once been a Monday Night Football sideline reporter—brandishing a microphone and asking Murphy for comment. Murphy recalls, “It went from Am I getting robbed? to Am I getting punk’d?”
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