In August, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed New York Giants kicker Josh Brown a one-game suspension for a May 2015 arrest in Washington for domestic violence against his ex-wife Molly Brown, who alleged that her husband had abused her physically on multiple occasions. The charges were dropped.
A one-game suspension, despite a sharp elongation of domestic violence suspensions since Ray Rice was banned indefinitely for beating his girlfriend in 2014.
“Our investigators had insufficient information to corroborate prior findings," the NFL said in explaining a confusing decision. "The NFL therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident [Brown’s arrest] as provided to us by the District Attorney.”
On Wednesday, the King's County Sheriff's Office released their findings from the case on Wednesday, in which Brown admits to beating his wife.
The NFL quickly attempted to cover its ass.
"NFL investigators made repeated attempts — both orally and in writing — to obtain any and all evidence and relevant information in this case from the King County Sheriff’s Office," the league said in a statement. "Each of those requests was denied and the Sheriff’s Office declined to provide any of the requested information, which ultimately limited our ability to fully investigate this matter."
Again, the King's County Sheriff's Office called the NFL on its bullshit, this time from the sheriff himself. King County Sheriff John Urquhart said they were contacted by the league's investigator, Rob Agnew, but didn't know he was the NFL's investigator because he didn't identify himself as such.
“I would have said exactly the same thing, ‘We cannot release the case file.’ But since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it’s the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had …” Urquhart said. “We’ve got some goofus from Woodinville named Rob Agnew asking for the case file. We have no idea who he is.”
The sheriff added the league never actually filed a formal request for information, either: “At no time has the NFL ever filed a written request, public disclosure request for any of these files. Period. It’s never happened.”
It turns out that a lot of other organizations have gotten their hands on this information, by taking the traditional route. A day after the suspension, the New York Daily News learned that Brown told the police he'd been abusive with his then-wife 20 times. The Browns' divorce records, which are publicly available, also detail the prolonged abuse.
But even before Brown's May 2015 arrest, the NFL knew firsthand of his abusive nature. While investigating Brown's case, police learned that NFL security was summoned to protect Molly Brown and her kids from the kicker during the 2015 Pro Bowl in Honolulu.
“Molly refused to let Josh in, and eventually had to call NFL and hotel security,” read one report. “Josh was escorted away from from Molly’s room and the NFL ended up having to put Molly and the kids up in a different hotel room where Josh would not know where they were.”
The NFL has reopened its investigation into Brown, not because they suddenly have all this new information, but because the public does.
It's clear that the NFL doesn't care about domestic violence. They just care that their fans care about it.