After the King’s County Sheriff’s Office in Washington released documents painting a chilling picture of Josh Brown’s life off the field, the New York Giants released their kicker of four years and the NFL placed Brown on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List.
In the series of emails, personal journals, and interviews, which were obtained in May of 2015 by the Sheriff’s Office after Brown was arrested for assaulting his then-wife Molly, Brown recognized his abusive past and described his domestic violence in frightening detail.
“My ability to connect emotionally to other people was zero. My empathy levels were zero,” Brown said in a 2014 letter to a friend obtained by NJ.com. “Because I never handled these underlying issues, I became an abuser and hurt my wife physically, emotionally and verbally. I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave.”
In another email, Brown described an addiction to pornography, stating that all he thought about was sex while describing himself as a “sexual deviant that viewed sex as sport.” Another one detailed the fear his family felt of him, with Brown writing, “I have struck fear in your heart and not love, compassion or friendship. From the bruise on your leg when we argued to the zipper that caught you last April.”
Although Brown is the only person responsible for his actions, as his revelations paint a picture of a repulsive man, the NFL and New York Giants have taken heat for their handling of Brown. While both organizations had no choice but to take action after the documents went public, many have questioned how Brown avoided severe punishment in the past.
In May of 2015, Brown was charged with fourth degree domestic violence after assaulting his wife. Under the league’s revised Personal Conduct Policy, it was thought that Brown would be handed a six game suspension, the minimum sentence for domestic violence violations. Instead, the NFL elected to suspended Brown for only the first game of the 2016 season.
Then, in January of 2016 at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Brown’s wife was forced to call NFL and hotel security when an inebriated Brown showed up at her hotel room and began pounding on the door to demand entrance. Although the NFL had Molly and her kids switch rooms, Brown faced no repercussions.
According to police reports, Molly also accused Brown of domestic violence on more than 20 occasions since 2009. Although no charges were filed, she obtained a protection order against Brown. Neither the NFL nor the Giants involved themselves on any of these occasions.
In April of 2016, the Giants awarded Brown with a 2 year, $4 million contract, seemingly accepting Brown’s claim that the 2015 domestic incident was “just a moment”. While Giants co-owner John Mara has stood by the decision to re-sign Brown, it has raised questions whether the NFL and New York Giants performed their due diligence on Brown.
During Brown’s divorce in 2015, both organizations had access to public records in which Molly detailed the abuse she suffered at the hands of the former Giants’ kicker, but it is unclear whether either organization ever obtained these documents. King’s County Sheriff John Urquhart also insists that he would have told the league to be very careful in handling Brown’s situation if they had communicated better with the Sheriff’s Department following Brown’s arrest in May.
“I think their description of why they couldn’t get paperwork on this case was wrong. And they were highly critical of the sheriff’s office and that criticism was unwarranted and it was just plain wrong,” Urquhart told KING 5 News, an NBC affiliated station in Seattle, after the NFL released a statement blaming the sheriff’s office for failing to release case details.
In a statement through the Giants, Brown contends that he will soon reveal more about the pain he has caused so that he “may be the voice of change and not a statistic.” With a growing list of domestic abusers in the NFL, including Johnny Manziel, Greg Hardy, and Ray Rice, Brown will certainly have to work hard if he wishes to amend his wrongdoings.
In the coming weeks, Josh Brown will have more questions to answer and personal demons to face. But he will not be alone– The National Football League and New York Giants will also have their fair share of explaining.