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SportsFootball

Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted wife, according to police report

Phoenix police officers escort Arizona Cardinals running back

Phoenix police officers escort Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer to the 4th Avenue Jail following his arrest on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 in Phoenix. Credit: AP / David Kadlubowski

The Cardinals on Thursday placed running back Jonathan Dwyer on the team's reserve/non-football illness list, a day after deactivating him from their roster after his arrest Wednesday on aggravated assault charges.

Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances and punched her in the face the next day, police said Thursday.

Placing him on the non-football illness list means Dwyer cannot return to the team for the remainder of the season. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Dwyer expressed shock at the arrest and insisted he is innocent. Arians said that if Dwyer is found guilty of the charges, he will be released by the team, and if he is cleared, he will be welcomed back.

Dwyer posted a $25,000 cash bond early Thursday morning and was released from custody, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. While declining to answer many questions from reporters, Dwyer was asked if he will play football again and said "I will" before stepping into a taxi.

Dwyer can have no contact with the team, although he is being paid by the Cardinals during his absence. Teams have the option of paying players who are placed on the non-football illness list.

Arians said domestic violence is a worldwide problem and should be addressed everywhere, not just in the NFL.

Dwyer is the fifth NFL player implicated in domestic violence cases in recent months. The others are Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on child abuse charges last week; Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who in July was found guilty by a judge of assaulting his former girlfriend; former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who has been suspended indefinitely for knocking out his fiancee in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel, and 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, who was arrested but not charged in connection with an alleged assault on his pregnant fiancee at a party in August.

According to the police report, Dwyer is accused of head-butting his wife, who is not named in the report, inside their Phoenix home July 21. An argument ensued after Dwyer "attempted to kiss her and remove her clothing. The victim told the defendant several times to 'stop.' When he continued, she bit the defendant's lip. He head-butted her in the face, which she later learned had caused a nasal bone fracture as a result of the head butt."

Dwyer punched his wife with a closed fist on the left side of her face the next day, according to police. Police said Dwyer also punched walls and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who was not injured.

The Cardinals would not identify the reason for placing Dwyer on the non-football illness list, but it is believed Dwyer's threat to commit suicide referred to in the police report prompted the designation.

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday responded to comments made at a Wednesday news conference in Atlanta, where famed attorney Gloria Allred said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ignored domestic abuse complaints filed in 2007 regarding Marshall, who was with the Broncos at the time.

"Some of the things I agree with [Allred] and some of the things I do not," Marshall said. "But what we don't know is the other side of the story, and I think it's important to let the process play itself out and do our due diligence because of my story . . .

"Without anyone doing their due diligence, we're going to put ourselves in situations where our guys, or even our women, can be condemned off of 'he said, she said,' and that's not fair."

Marshall said he met with Goodell this summer to discuss the off-field problems many NFL players experience.

"[Goodell] had tears in his eyes and he said, 'How can I help [Browns wide receiver] Josh Gordon, how can I help [former Browns and Dolphins receiver] Davone Bess, how can I help these guys? We have the Ray Rice situation.'

"And he really was concerned, he really cared, and that's when I really gained a lot of respect for him," Marshall said.

Despite the recent arrests for domestic violence, NFL fans do not appear ready to turn away from the sport. According to an NBC/Marist poll released Thursday, 86 percent of fans say the news about domestic violence hasn't changed the amount of professional football they watch. That compares with 11 percent of fans who say they now are less likely to watch and 3 percent who are more likely to watch.

The poll said 53 percent of Americans and 57 percent of football fans disapprove of the league's handling of recent reports of domestic violence, and that 55 percent of men disapproved and 50 percent of women disapproved.

According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans say it is wrong for parents to discipline their children by striking them with a paddle, switch or belt. Peterson was indicted after Texas authorities discovered cuts and bruises on his 4-year-old son after Peterson admitted he disciplined the child with a switch, a small tree branch.

Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Lowell McAdam said questions regarding the NFL's handling of the domestic violence issue ignore the "culture of denial" about the issue.

Writing on Linkedin, McAdam reiterated his company's commitment to working with the NFL on a long-term program to address domestic violence. Verizon is an NFL sponsor and mobile-video partner of the league.

"The real crisis this firestorm has brought to light goes way beyond Verizon's image or the future of the NFL," McAdam wrote. "It's about the scourge of domestic violence itself -- a plague that crosses all sports, all communities and all demographics."

With AP and Santosh

Venkataraman in Chicago

New York Sports