Remember when the NFL revamped their discipline policies for domestic violence which created a mandatory 6 game ban for a player's first offense? That just proved to not be so mandatory after all when New York Giants kicker Josh Brown received a one game suspension after police were called to his house twice in a 2 day span on domestic violence situations on May 22nd of 2015.
At the time his then-wife Molly Brown (now ex-wife) told police that Josh Brown had been physically violent with her 20 times going as far back as 2009 and that even included incidents when she was pregnant as well. The problem with the case came when Molly Brown stopped cooperating with any investigations into the matter. The charges were then dropped altogether 5 days later.
The NFL decided that enough happened during that time to warrant some sort of punishment but attempted to investigate the matter more fully. The problem was that Molly Brown wasn't willing to talk to them either about the incident and the police also were unable to provide more detailed information. After 10 months of investigation the NFL decided they didn't have enough evidence for their mandatory 6-game ban and made it a 1 game suspension for the opening game of the 2016 season instead.
"As a result of these factors, our investigators had insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations. In addition, no criminal charges were brought forward regarding the incident in question or prior allegations." the NFL wrote in a statement on Friday. "The N.F.L. therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident as provided to us by the district attorney."
It's a tough situation to be in for the NFL, they could have tried to institute the 6-game mandatory ban off of police being called to Brown's house but it likely would have been another long contested battle had they tried to. With charges being dropped altogether and an uncooperative witness they didn't have enough evidence to test this in the court system.
The NFL's failure to use their domestic violence penalties here does create grey area in the mandatory ban they supposedly instituted. The police were still called to Brown's residence twice in two days for domestic violence situations even if Molly Brown stopped cooperating with police on the investigation.
So then are we to take it as the blanket ban is only for players convicted of domestic abuse? So basically, if NFL players do beat up a woman then they better make sure she stops talking so that they can avoid the real penalties that were supposed to be handed down. That sounds like grey area to me for sure, and it also sounds like a policy that is going to make victims of domestic abuse by NFL players more likely to be threatened or bought off into silence afterwards.
NFL statement: Josh Brown’s ex- wife, police wouldn’t cooperate with NFL investigation | ProFootballTalk
Read the full statement from the NFL here.
NFL defends 1-game suspension for Giants K Josh Brown - SBNation.com
Brown’s ex-wife told police the kicker was physically violent with her more than 20 times.
N.F.L. Says Stymied Investigation Led to One-Game Ban for Josh Brown - The New York Times
Brown was arrested in May 2015, but the charges were dropped and the league said Friday it "made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident."
NFL: Josh Brown only banned 1 game because ex-wife didn’t talk | New York Post
The NFL said it suspended Giants kicker Josh Brown one game — instead of the new "baseline’’ punishment of six games for first-time domestic abuse offenders — because of "insufficient information’’ stemming from Brown’s ex-wife’s refusal to cooperate with the league’s investigation.
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