The Giants released Josh Brown Tuesday and admitted they were “misguided” in re-signing the kicker this offseason while at least partially aware of his history of domestic violence.
“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” co-owner John Mara said in a statement on Tuesday. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility.”
The Giants knew about Brown’s May 2015 arrest for assaulting his then-wife, Molly, at their home in the state of Washington. Those charges were dropped by prosecutors, but the police investigation continued. Mara said last week in a radio interview that he also was aware of an incident at the Pro Bowl in January 2016 during which the league had to intervene on behalf of Molly Brown during a disagreement between her and Brown.
“He admitted to us he’d abused his wife in the past,” Mara said in that radio interview. “What’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”
Brown also issued a statement Tuesday.
“I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way,” he said.
Brown was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list Friday after documents were released last week in which he admitted in journal entries and in a letter to friends that he abused his wife over the course of years. The Giants did not bring Brown with them to London when they left Thursday, a day after those documents became public.
The Giants’ front office spent Monday and part of Tuesday determining how they would handle Brown. Despite removing him from the roster, Mara said he hoped to continue to help Brown.
“We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father,” he said in the statement. “We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.”
Brown said in his statement, which the Giants sent out after his release, that he remains in counseling.
“The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life,” he wrote. “My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man . . . In the coming days and weeks I plan on telling more of the pain I had caused and the measures taken to get help so I may be the voice of change and not a statistic.”
In another statement to ESPN published earlier in the day, Brown claimed “it is important to share that I never struck my wife, and never would. Abuse takes many forms, and is not a gray area.” Those lines, along with other slight differences, did not appear in the statement from Brown sent out by the Giants on Tuesday afternoon.
In both statements, Brown said he would cooperate with the NFL and the Giants in the league’s investigation. Brown still could face further discipline from the league, but at 37 years old his playing career is likely over.
Brown continued to be a topic of discussion among the players, even hours before the team’s decision was made. Most of them had not seen or heard from Brown since he was left behind for the London trip.
“With a brother, you talk to him individually if you choose to and you just keep it between you,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “You send him a text and give him time to reply. You don’t want to harp on somebody after a situation like that happens. You give him time to deal with it.”
Wide receiver Victor Cruz said the players are “just understanding all the facts and getting all the information we can. Some of us have our opinions on it that we’ll leave in the locker room, so I’ll just leave it at that.”
Asked for his opinion, Cruz said: “You guys have already asked me about that at length. Domestic violence is disgusting, it is not something that I stand by at all, and I’d prefer if you don’t ask me any more questions about Josh Brown.”
Mara said the Giants will continue to work with those who fight domestic violence.
“We have great respect and feel strongly about our support for the good people who work tirelessly and unconditionally to aid the victims of domestic violence and who bring awareness to the issue,” Mara’s statement said. “We have been partners with My Sisters’ Place [a domestic violence shelter and advocate based in Westchester] for nearly 20 years. The leadership of that organization has provided invaluable insight as we have considered our decisions in this matter. We value and respect their opinion, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”