When the Brandon Marshall trade first broke yesterday, many observers looked deep for the hidden hand of Manning (PHRASING!) because dispensing of an albeit difficult star receiver was surely just the machinations of free agent Pey-Pey trying to mold the Dolphins roster to meet his desires.

Guess not. Marshall is accused of punching a woman – who was celebrating her birthday, no less – at a club in New York over the weekend. B-Marsh had been thrown out of the club for fighting with another unnamed football player. The woman, who had been blocked from going downstairs at the club because officials were dealing with the altercation, reunited later with her friends outside, who smartly engaged Marshall and the other player in an argument. This led to the woman, 24-year-old Christin Myles being allegedly being punched in the face by Marshall.

It wasn’t clear if Marshall intentionally struck Myles or if he meant to hit one of her friends, according to the report.

Only buying that if the other friend was a woman.

Meanwhile, Marshall’s lawyer denied that the receiver was involved with the first fight because Marshall was too busy trying to escort his wife, supposedly hit in the face with a thrown bottle, outside and away from the fracas, which just happened to follow him outside. No comment was made in regards to his punchiness.

Apparently, the Dolphins and Bears were aware of the incident before making the trade, so no backsies, Chicago.

In other “NFL players be assaulting women” news, Vikings corner Chris Cook stood trial yesterday for an incident last year in which he slapped his then-girlfriend in the face. He alleged self-defense because she hit him from behind with a shoe. That’s sound legal advice. I hear juries are often swayed by footwear injuries.