Former Giants placekicker Josh Brown admitted to “holding down” his then-wife, Molly, but not to hitting or slapping her, in an interview shown Thursday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Brown sat down with ABC News’ Paula Faris for the interview, in which Faris asked what he meant in a journal entry in which he admitted to physically, verbally and emotionally abusing Molly.
“I mean I had put my hands on her,” he said. “I kicked the chair. I held her down. The holding down was the worst moment in our marriage.
“I never hit her. I never slapped her. I never choked her. I never did those types of things.”
Faris asked how people should reconcile Brown’s admission that he physically abused his wife but did not hit her, and he responded, “They’re not supposed to. What I did was wrong — period.”
Brown added, “Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. We’re talking intimidation and threats, the attempt to control, body language. An abuser is going to abuse to a certain degree to acquire some kind of a reaction.”
The Giants re-signed Brown before the 2016 season even though they were aware of some elements of his past. His presence on the roster eventually became a source of controversy and consternation. They released him on Oct. 25.
“I’m fully accountable to every bit of it,” Brown said of his actions. When Faris asked if he has any excuse, Brown said, “None.”
Earlier in the interview, Brown lamented what he considers an unfair perception about him in the public.
“The world now thinks that I beat my wife, and I have never hit this woman. I’ve never hit her, not once,” he said.
Brown was arrested on a domestic violence charge on May 22, 2015, but in the ABC interview he disputed most aspects of what he was accused of then. The charges were dropped five days after the incident.
“I reach for the phone, I grab the top of the phone, she screams, I back away, she leaves,” he said. “Thirty-five minutes later, I’m in handcuffs . . . I did not touch her on the wrist.”
The Giants were aware of that incident when they signed him in the spring. After an NFL investigation, he was suspended for the first game of the 2016 season, then returned to the team.
Brown’s status started to unravel after the release on Oct. 19 of a trove of documents by the King County (Wash.) sheriff that included journals he kept as part of his therapy and in which he acknowledged that he “physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly.”
The Giants did not take Brown with them on a road trip to London, initially putting him on the reserve/commissioner’s exempt list, then released him the next week.
In the documents Molly accused him of being abusive on more than 20 occasions. “I dispute it; I absolutely dispute it,” Brown said in the ABC interview.
He also expressed disappointment that his private thoughts had become public.
“These were the things you say to yourself and then you burn them, and I didn’t,” he said.
Asked what the NFL knew about the situation, Brown said, “The league has known everything.”
Is he angry about how the NFL handled the situation?
“The fact that my private things are being used against me, that’s hard to swallow,” he said. “I’m talking about my journals. I had to learn all that and write all that down in order to heal and now you’re telling me I’m that I’m going to be punished for trying to correct the things in my life that needed to be changed.”
Brown said he had been working on his problems before the May 2015 incident. “I spoke publicly about this in men’s groups, at churches,” he said. “This was not something that I necessarily hid.”
Asked what he has lost, Brown said, “Everything.” Asked what he has left, he mentioned his young daughter. “That’s the best thing in the world,” he said. Brown’s divorce from Molly was finalized in December.
Brown will be 38 when next season begins, but he said he does not want to retire. “I want to be able to play again,” he said. “I want to be able to continue to write this story, continue to be a voice for change.”
Asked whether second and third chances are realistic in the NFL, he said, “Maybe. We’ll see. If it doesn’t happen, I’m fine.”
Faris said after the interview aired that she asked Brown whether he expects any team to come near him, and he answered, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Brown at his annual Super Bowl week news conference in Houston on Wednesday.
“We do have an active investigation on Josh Brown,” Goodell said. “You know from last fall that we didn’t have all of the information from law enforcement. They released some of that at a later date. We now have that information and we will continue that investigation. Until we have a final decision, we won’t be making any decisions about anyone’s eligibility on that front.”
The Giants declined to comment.