The National Football League, an organization with a checkered past when it comes to dealing with players involved in domestic violence incidents, is weathering new criticism over its handling of a player who was arrested last year for domestic violence — and whose history of domestic violence has just come to light. In May of 2015, New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown was arrested for domestic violence after an argument with his wife, Molly. The charges were eventually dropped and the NFL gave the kicker a one-game suspension, which he served at the beginning of the season. However, in 2014, Brown had made several confessions in emails written to friends and a journal the kicker kept that he was a serial spousal abuser. The documents were discovered by the King’s County Sheriff’s Office in its initial investigation of the 2015 incident, and listed at least eight different incident reports of alleged abuse. Molly Brown alleged to authorities that she’d suffered 20 incidents of domestic abuse. Still, Brown served a mere one-game suspension, even though the league’s domestic violence policy calls for a minimum six-game suspension.
The NFL said Molly Brown declined to cooperate with its investigation of the matter, but the documents were reportedly publicly available in the couple’s divorce paperwork. Neither the Giants nor the NFL ever obtained the documents, which, in a bombshell report, came to light on Thursday.
Brown’s words in the journal entries were chilling. He described himself as a “sexual deviant” and wrote, “I have been a liar for most of my life. I made selfish decisions to use and abuse women starting at the age of 7 to fill this void. I objectified women and never really worried about the pain and hurt I caused them. My ability to connect emotionally to other people was zero. My empathy levels were zero. Because I never handled these underlying issues I became an abuser and hurt Molly physically, emotionally and verbally. I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave.”
On Friday, the league essentially suspended Brown, and put him on paid leave as the Giants headed out of the country for a game in London. But criticism mounted as the league and the sheriff’s office traded jabs over the handling of the investigations, and many lambasted the NFL for having learned nothing after the public backlash over its handling of Ray Rice in 2014. Writing at For the Win, Maggie Hendricks said, “The NFL showed in Josh Brown’s case it doesn’t care about women.” Hendricks says she’s been made to feel like an idiot by the league for believing that it’s taking women’s issues more seriously. She noted that 55 percent of American women, according to a recent survey, watch the NFL on TV. And that the NFL, which has experienced a TV ratings decline this season, can only really grow by attracting more women to the sport. “It doesn’t take a marketing genius to see there is a much bigger opportunity for growth with women than with men,” Hendricks wrote. “However, women aren’t going to want to give football a chance if the sport consistently shows they’re not welcome.”
Read the full story at The Bleacher Report.