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NFL had ‘insufficient information’ to give Giants’ Josh Brown more than one-game suspension

Josh Brown of the New York Giants kicks

Josh Brown of the New York Giants kicks a field goal as Brad Wing holds against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 12, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Dolphins defeated the Giants, 27-10. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rich Schultz

The NFL said it was unable to speak with Josh Brown’s former wife and had “insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations” of domestic abuse against the Giants kicker, resulting in its decision to issue a one-game suspension for violating the personal-conduct policy.

In a statement released Friday, the league said Brown’s former wife, Molly, declined to cooperate during its investigation. The NFL said it “made a decision based on the evidentiary findings” of one incident, Brown’s arrest on May 22, 2015, on charges of fourth-degree assault/domestic violence. The charges were dropped by the district attorney five days later.

The NFL said it was aware that Brown’s former wife told police in King County, Washington, that Brown had exhibited 20 previous instances of abusive or threatening behavior. Those claims are included in a case file obtained by Newsday from the King County sheriff’s office.

“Despite multiple attempts to speak with about this incident and her previous statements, she declined to speak with us,” the statement said. “We understand that there are many reasons that might have affected her decision not to speak with us, but we were limited in our ability to investigate these allegations.”

The NFL also said that during its 10-month investigation, it made “numerous requests — as late as this spring — to local law enforcement officers for information on the case and previous allegations. They declined those requests for information.”

The statement of probable cause upon Brown’s arrest on May 22, 2015, states that Brown grabbed his wife’s wrist when she picked up a telephone during an argument. The victim displayed “redness on her wrist and a small cut” and “feels that Brown] assaulted her.” She dialed 911 after she “pulled the phone away.”

According to the case file, Molly Brown detailed past incidents to police, which included Brown holding up his fist and saying “I want to knock you out so bad” and separately kicking in a bathroom door in their home, which injured Molly’s teenage son, Brown’s stepson. Molly Brown told police she had an order of protection against Brown in 2013, which she dropped due to progress in their marriage through counseling, according to the case file.

Brown, who spoke to reporters Thursday after his one-game suspension was announced, was asked if the May 22, 2015, event was an isolated incident. “It was just a moment,” he said.

Brown said the Giants were aware of his arrest and the claims by his former wife when he played for them through the 2015 season and when they signed him to a two-year contract during the offseason.

“My teammates have known since the day it happened,” Brown said Thursday. “Everybody’s known, everybody’s been a part of it . . . This has been a year and I’ve had to play with this over my head, and I’ve continued to play well and I will continue to play well.”

The NFL typically serves minimum suspensions of six games for incidents of domestic violence. That policy was established as a “baseline” after the mishandling of charges against former Ravens running back Ray Rice in 2014.

“After reviewing the evidence in this one incident, we imposed a one-game suspension for violation of the personal-conduct policy,” the league said in the statement. Brown argued that he should not be suspended at all because the charges were dropped, but his appeal was denied.

Brown traveled to Buffalo with the Giants for Saturday’s preseason game against the Bills. He is eligible to play throughout the preseason but will serve his suspension in the week leading up to the regular-season opener, which includes the Sept. 11 game in Dallas against the Cowboys. He is eligible to return to the team Sept. 12.

New York Sports