A former Sports Illustrated reporter is claiming she was threatened by former Washington Football running back Derrius Guice while she was profiling him for a story in 2017.
Detailing the disturbing episode in a recent blog post, former SI scribe Joan Niesen says the incident took place after she'd arrived in Louisiana to conduct what she thought was a relatively routine series of interviews with Guice and some of the key figures in his life, in the weeks prior to the 2017 season.
Guice was then a superstar with LSU, coming off a breakout 2016 season in which he racked up 16 touchdowns and nearly 1,400 rushing yards on an astonishing 7.6 yards per carry. Guice's violence-marred childhood was also prominent in the headlines at that time, and Niesen said she wanted to make sense of the tragic story and how it led him to remain in Baton Rouge, his hometown.
Instead, Niesen claims Guice blew off their interview -- and later told her to stay away in a profane text message that included a not-too-subtle "or else." An official in the LSU sports program confirmed the text was from Guice, Niesen said, and the interview was again pushed off before she eventually gave up and returned home.
Niesen's SI article was ultimately a puff piece with scant mention of the unsettling incident, which she says she is "ashamed of" amid allegations that Guice assaulted his girlfriend and raped two women while he was at LSU.
"I didn’t include the threat, didn’t want to make myself any more a part of the story than I had to be," Niesen said. "I regret that. I had more than just a bad feeling about Guice; I had a message in writing that was downright alarming, and I did nothing with it."
As for why Guice tried to intimidate her, Niesen thinks it could be connected to the newly surfaced rape allegations.
"According to the USA Today story, at the time Guice threatened me, LSU already knew of both rape allegations. I wonder if Guice thought that’s why I was in town, if he heard 'reporter' and assumed I knew something I didn’t."
Washington promptly cut Guice earlier this month upon his arrest on domestic violence charges, including felony strangulation, after he allegedly choked his girlfriend until she passed out. Days later, it was reported that Guice was accused of rape by two women in separate incidents in 2016, but LSU had apparently declined to investigate.
Guice was a probable first-round talent who slipped on draft day over character concerns. Washington nabbed him in the second round in 2018, but his entire rookie campaign was lost to a preseason knee injury. He returned for just five games in 2019, tallying 245 yards rushing on 42 attempts.