When the NFL announced Wednesday it had suspended New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown for one game for violating its personal conduct policy, it didn’t specify exactly what he’d done.
But in a statement released Friday, the league announced the punishment was for a May 2015 incident in which Brown, 37, was arrested for a fourth-degree domestic violence charge in Washington state. Prosecutors dropped the charge days later.
NFL officials who imposed the brief ban said they were aware of a court statement Brown’s ex-wife filed last year alleging he’d been violent toward her numerous other times. She told police he’d abused her more than 20 times since she became pregnant with their daughter in 2009, according to case records obtained by The New York Daily News.
She told police that on the day Brown was arrested, he had grabbed her wrist when she reached for a phone during an argument. There was redness on her wrist and “a small cut, possibly from a fingernail,” according to a police report obtained by NJ.com.
On another occasion, Brown pushed her into a door when she was four to six months pregnant, she told police. In 2014, he threw her to the floor and jumped on top of her, according to incidents cited by The Daily News. By her estimate to police, she’d called 911 on 10 occasions before officers arrested Brown.
“He’s just intimidating,” his former wife said in one 911 call. “He won’t stop yelling and I asked him to leave the house, because he needs to calm down his temper.”
The details of her allegations make it likely that the league will be under renewed scrutiny for how it disciplines players linked to domestic violence. Officials like Commissioner Roger Goodell have been criticized previously for meting out light punishments to players accused of hitting women.
The league’s statement said that Brown’s ex-wife and members of law enforcement had not cooperated with the NFL’s attempts to learn more about Brown’s behavior.
“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 statement said. “The NFL therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident as provided to us by the District Attorney.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Brown avoided discussing his arrest in detail.
“Like everybody’s aware of, this moment happened over a year ago,” Brown reportedly said. “The case was dropped five days after the moment happened, and we’ve moved forward with our lives at this point. While I’m not okay with the decision, I have to respect it. I look forward to a 15-game season and moving forward with my teammates.”
Brown also said that he informed the team about his arrest right away “to protect them just in case media did get ahold of it.”