“Just a moment.”
Those are the three words Giants kicker Josh Brown used in explaining his actions on May 22, 2015, when he was arrested on a single misdemeanor charge of domestic violence in an altercation with his wife that ultimately led to only a one-game suspension by the NFL.
As it turns out, Brown was being completely disingenuous in describing his situation and greatly underestimated the depths of his dysfunctional and abusive relationship.
Just a moment? Try many, many moments from a dark and deeply troubled past.
Court documents released late Wednesday by the King County (Wash.) sheriff’s office revealed a long, disturbing history of domestic violence. That included Brown’s written admission in journals and other correspondence that he abused his wife long before the 2015 arrest that set off the investigation leading to a slap-on-the-wrist suspension to begin this season. It makes it all the more galling to know that Brown had so strongly disagreed with the sanction.
The Giants made Brown inactive for Sunday’s game in London against the Rams, but the better decision would have been to release him outright. In light of the revelations from the court and police documents, which paint a picture of a man who has struggled for years with deep-seated psychological problems, many of which contributed to the frequent abuse of his wife, there is no reason for the Giants to even think about keeping Brown.
The fact they re-signed him while knowing about his 2015 arrest as well as a confrontation in a Hawaii hotel before the 2016 Pro Bowl makes them complicit. The Giants are one of the most respected franchises in sports, but this is an ugly stain on that reputation.
What makes it even worse is the tone-deaf comment by Giants president and co-owner Joh Mara in a WFAN interview on Thursday. Mara said Brown “admitted to us that he’s abused his wife in the past and I think what’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”
Mara can find his answer in the court documents.
“I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man,” Brown wrote in one of his journal entries, which was obtained by Newsday. “I have abused my wife.”
He also wrote in a document titled “Contract for Change,” an agreement facilitated by a Seattle-based marriage counselor: “I have controlled her my (sic) making her feel less human than me, and manipulated her with money. I have constantly made her feel as if she is not good enough for me to hide my own insecurities and self hate.”
Molly Brown had told investigators about more than 20 previous incidents in which Brown abused her, although that information came out after the league concluded an investigation complicated by King County law enforcement officials’ unwillingness to cooperate. She also had declined repeated interview requests by the NFL.
Given the intense, well-deserved criticism the league received in the infamous Ray Rice case in 2014, when commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Ravens running back for only two games after he knocked out his then-fiancé in an Atlantic City hotel, the NFL knew it risked more heat by suspending Brown for only one game. So did the Giants, especially after Mara had been so forceful about the Rice incident and the issue of domestic violence.
The league and the Giants now come off looking ineffectual for not taking Brown’s situation seriously enough. Granted, there were mitigating circumstances based on the difficulties involving the investigation. And, as in any relationship, complicating factors can cloud the situation and the ability to ferret out the truth.
But as the court documents released Wednesday reveal, there had been ongoing problems between the two, and several instances of domestic violence had occurred. The Giants knew the couple had been having difficulties and had undergone counseling. Brown had indicated they had divorced, although the documents released Wednesday indicated it had not been finalized.
If Brown wasn’t forthcoming on that issue, then it stands to reason he had not detailed the depths of his problem — and the frequency of abusive interactions — to the Giants, who had not spoken to Molly Brown during their own investigation.
It is a mess all the way around. The initial unwillingness of the NFL and the Giants to sanction Brown more severely under the personal conduct policy makes them look as if they are sacrificing their integrity for the sake of winning, and the public fallout and acrimony is on them.
It’s hard to imagine the Giants will keep Brown, nor should they. A man who refers to an arrest for domestic violence as “just a moment,” knowing full well there were so many others, doesn’t deserve the privilege of playing.