The former longtime partner of former Washington Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien filed a lawsuit against him, seeking damages for physical and emotional abuse after years of alleged acts of domestic violence and repeated threats.
Danielle Wade, who had been with Rypien for 18 years, sued earlier this month in Spokane County (Washington) Superior Court. The suit documents alleged incidents from 2008 through September 2020. The two never married, but Rypien had referred to her as his wife in various interviews over the years.
At one point in 2019, Rypien hit Wade with his car and drove over part of her leg, according to the lawsuit. She also alleges that at another time Rypien became enraged while driving and, as she tried to get him to stop, backhanded her in the abdomen. Wade later told her attorney that she had suffered an injury to her esophagus as a result.
Rypien, who retired in 2002, told The Spokesman-Review newspaper in 2018 that he had struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, memory loss and uncontrollable impulses that he said stemmed from head injuries while playing football. The suit references him being diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
"It doesn't matter if someone is ill, they don't have the right to abuse someone," said Wade's attorney, Mary Schultz. She said that because the two-year statute of limitations has expired on almost all of the alleged attacks, they want the judge to consider the years-long series of events as "one continuing assault," as other states -- but not Washington -- have done in some cases. That's why the lawsuit details every incident of alleged abuse over their years together, she said.
"By the time you're able to get out of that culture, you have no recourse," Schultz said.
Rypien was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in 2019, but the charges were later dismissed.
"Mr. Rypien categorically and unequivocally condemns domestic violence," a statement his attorney provided to the Seattle Times reads. "He had a relationship with Danielle Wade that ended recently. During this relationship, Mr. Rypien acknowledged and apologized for actions that were harmful to Ms. Wade for which he is truly sorry. He has full faith in the judicial system and hopes the parties can reach a just resolution so that they can move forward living their separate lives."
Rypien played quarterback for Washington from 1986 to '93, helping lead the franchise to a Super Bowl in the 1991 season. He earned Super Bowl MVP honors in the team's win over Buffalo, its last Super Bowl appearance. Rypien spent time with six other franchises before retiring in 2002.