EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NFL is going to reopen its investigation of New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown after police released journal entries and emails in which he admitted that he verbally and physically abused his former wife. Meanwhile, the Giants have announced Brown will not travel with the team for its game Sunday in London.
The NFL issued a statement Thursday saying the league’s investigators made repeated verbal and written attempts to obtain any and all evidence and relevant information in the May 2015 case from the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington, but were denied.
The sheriff’s office released the journals and emails late Wednesday to SportsNet New York.
The Giants said they want to review the new information released by King County law enforcement officials in Washington and reach a decision on the kicker’s future with the club, possibly next week.
The league said law enforcement’s response limited its yearlong investigation of the domestic abuse incident that led to Brown’s arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. No charges were filed against the 37-year-old player.
“We concluded our own investigation, more than a year after the initial incident, based on the facts and evidence available to us at the time and after making exhaustive attempts to obtain information in a timely fashion,” the league said. “It is unfortunate that we did not have the benefit or knowledge of these materials at the time.”
The Giants released a statement late Thursday afternoon saying that “in light of the news reports regarding the documents … we think it makes sense to review this newly disclosed information and revisit this issue following our trip to London.”
“The Giants do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence,” the team added. “Josh has acknowledged he has issues in his life and has been working on these issues through therapy and counseling for a long period of time. We remain supportive of Josh and his efforts.”
In an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday afternoon, Giants co-owner and president John Mara said the team wants to gather more information before making a determination about Brown’s future.
“I’m certainly disturbed by what we’ve read,” Mara said. “Listen, he’s admitted to us that he’s abused his wife in the past. I think what’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”
Coach Ben McAdoo said the team has not yet signed a kicker to replace Brown.
Mara again defended the team’s decision to re-sign Brown in April and to retain him after he was suspended.
“You’re never comfortable with these things, and we were obviously disturbed by it,” Mara said. “But based on what we knew and particularly based on this young man’s attempt to try to rehabilitate himself — which I still believe he’s trying to do and he’s made a good-faith effort as far as I know over the past couple of years — we were comfortable with the decision to continue to employ him.”
Brown, who was suspended by the NFL for the opening game of the season for a violation of its personal conduct policy, practiced Thursday but was not in the locker room afterward as the team prepared to leave for its game against the Los Angeles Rams in London on Sunday.
County prosecutors announced Thursday they had declined to file charges in the case because they were having trouble getting key testimony from Brown’s wife and other key witnesses, including her relatives and friends.
“I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man,” Brown wrote in one journal entry. “I have abused my wife.”
The journal was part of was part of 165 pages of documents that were turned over to authorities by Brown’s former wife, Molly, after his arrest. She had accused him of more than 20 instances of domestic violence.
In a report released by the King County Sheriff’s Office that summarized the allegations, Detective Robin Ostrom said the allegations included that he had slammed her into a large bedroom mirror, breaking it; that he had shoved a chair into her leg, bruising it; and that he damaged a bathroom door when he lost his temper with her older son.
The report also detailed how the wife anguished over whether to move forward with a prosecution, given the effect it could have on her family.
One of the documents dated more than two years before Brown’s arrest was called a “Contract for Change” and appeared to be signed by both the kicker and his former wife.
“I have controlled her by making her feel less human than me, and manipulated her with money,” said one of the eight items in the list. “I have disregarded my stepsons’ feelings and they have witnessed me abusing their mother.”
In a 2013 email, Brown said he caused his wife to fear him.
“From the bruise on your leg when we argued … to the zipper that caught you last April. I am ashamed and disgraced to call myself a husband,” Brown said.
In a March 2014 letter he wrote to friends, apparently as part of a counseling session with his wife, Brown blamed his treatment of women on the fact that he was molested when he was about 6 years old.
“I have been a liar for most of my life,” he wrote. “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.”
The NFL said in a statement in August that Molly turned down multiple requests to speak to the league about her allegations of repeated domestic violence. But SNY reported Thursday that Molly alleged the NFL and some Giants players were aware of her husband’s abusive behavior.
According to documents, Molly said that while she and Brown were going through their divorce, she agreed to travel with their children to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. One night, Brown got drunk and pounded so loudly on her hotel door that NFL and hotel security were called to escort the kicker away, Molly said. She and her kids were then moved to a different hotel “where Brown would not know where they are,” according to a police report.
Mara told WFAN he was aware of that situation months ago.
Brown’s teammates said they found it tough to talk about the news.
“Obviously, it is an unfortunate situation for all parties,” receiver Victor Cruz said. “But as a teammate, I am behind Josh Brown. I just want him to get himself right and make sure that he is able to overcome these things.”
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said that Brown is one of the leaders of the team’s Bible studies group.
“It’s kind of hurtful, but I am here for him, because he helped me grow a lot, being a man off the field,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I learned a lot from him. For what he is going through, I hurt for him.”
After Brown’s suspension was announced, the Giants voiced support for the kicker.
“I do support Josh as a man, a father and a player,” McAdoo said. “We treat these situations on a case-by-case basis.”
However, as CBS2’s Otis Livingston reports, wide receiver Victor Cruz said he won’t be supporting Brown.
“I do not stand behind domestic abuse in the least bit,” Cruz said. “His personal life is exactly that, and I stand far away from getting into that.”
The Giants re-signed Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract in April. Mara said in August that Giants officials were aware of the allegations against Brown at the time.
Brown is one of the top placekickers in the NFL. He scored a career-high 134 points last season. He has made 11 of 12 field goal attempts this season and all eight extra points.
The Giants reached an agreement with former Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould late Thursday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday night. Gould, the Bears’ career scoring leader, will join the team in London.
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