LONDON — Annie Apple, the mother of Giants rookie cornerback Eli Apple, took the team and its co-owner to task yesterday over their handling of accused domestic abuser Josh Brown. In an article for SI.com titled “Why I cannot stay silent after John Mara’s callous comments about domestic violence,” Apple detailed an abusive relationship with Eli Apple’s biological father that ended before Eli was born.
“The comments made by John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, were insensitive, dismissive and callous,” she wrote. “How are you a so-called champion of domestic violence but lack basic compassion for a victim? Yes, this man signs my son’s checks as I’ve been reminded on Twitter. Mr. Mara owns the New York Giants. He doesn’t own Annie Apple. Wrong is wrong. And Mr. Mara’s comments were unapologetically wrong and hit at a raw place.”
She was referring in particular to Mara’s statement in a radio interview Thursday after newly released documents showed that Brown admitted to abusing his wife, Molly, over a period of years. In the interview, Mara said the Giants were aware that Brown was abusive before re-signing the kicker in the offseason.
“He admitted to us he’d abused his wife in the past,” Mara said. “What’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”
The article, coupled with a Twitter rant against Mara and the Giants earlier in the week, could make things awkward for the Giants’ first-round pick.
Annie Apple has a large social media following and is a contributor to Sports Illustrated and ESPN, so there was always a danger of her commenting on something regarding the Giants or her son. Eli Apple seemed prepared for that.
“I know she’s very vocal about that type of situation and that topic is very important to her, so I can understand where she’s coming from,” Eli Apple said yesterday. “In the same time, I know that in my position I just have to do my part, just play football and do what I can do.”
Eli Apple said he had a sense this might happen when he saw his mother’s social media posts Thursday. Those posts included observations such as: “(R)eading these Mara comments makes me sad, angry and completely baffled” and “He just doesn’t get it. This is sad.”
Said Eli Apple, “When I saw a couple of tweets, I was like, ‘OK.’ I saw a couple more and I was like, ‘OK, she might go on a rant.’ She’s her own person and she’ll do whatever she’s going to do.”
Brown did not travel to London with the team. On Friday, he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while the NFL reopens its investigation. On Friday, coach Ben McAdoo said the Giants are “not going to turn our back on Josh.”
Annie Apple’s article detailed how she was abused with two young children and Eli on the way.
“After I found out I was pregnant, he decided he didn’t want another child anymore,” Apple wrote of Eli’s biological father. “He’d changed his mind. He insisted I have another abortion. I refused. I couldn’t go through that again. The physical violence escalated for random things and reasons. He told me he’d keep doing this until I got rid of the baby.”
Annie Apple left him and six months later, she wrote, Eli was born. Those memories, she said, came flooding back as she read reports and listened to reaction this week.
“Domestic violence isn’t an amusement park attraction or haunted ride you take at an amusement park,” she wrote. “Domestic violence is a real, living nightmare. Victims are judged for not leaving, but the abuser isn’t criminalized.”
Brown was arrested in May 2015 for assault, but charges were swiftly dropped.
“Usually by the time you hear of a domestic-violence victim, she’s either dead or barely alive; the rest of us survivors have lived in terror and millions of victims continue to live in terror,” Apple wrote. “Domestic violence is not about love; it’s about control. If you’re in a violent relationship, please get out and get help. It never gets better when you stay.”
As for Eli Apple, he said he’s spoken to the Giants’ higher-ups about the situation. “I think we’re good on that front,” he said. “I talked to them and let them know that my mom, her reactions sometimes are like that. I just made sure I talked to everybody, just let them know.”
He did not say if he had spoken directly to Mara.
One person Eli Apple did say he has yet to speak to is his mother. “She’s a little upset at everybody right now,” he said. “I’m probably just going to give her her space a little bit.”