2016 NFL Season

Josh Brown game-winner puts focus back on domestic violence allegations

imrsBy Cindy Boren Washington Post

This can’t have been the way the owners of the New York Giants were hoping things would go Sunday.

Oh, sure, they obviously wanted a victory, but the game came down to the foot of Josh Brown, the place kicker who was suspended by the NFL for the season opener over a domestic violence arrest. After the 16-13 victory, there were plenty of questions and many of them didn’t concern the Giants’ 2-0 record.

“I have nothing to say about it — literally nothing,’’ Brown told reporters (via the New York Post). “It was a single moment, an act. My family and I have addressed these issues long before anybody else ever found out or talked about it. My family and I have moved on. My concern is my children and that’s it.’’

Although he chose the words “single moment,” the Daily News reported that there was an initial complaint by his then-wife, Molly, that resulted in his arrest in May 2015 in Washington state. The charge was dismissed, but police later said that Brown violated a previous restraining order she had taken out against him and she told police he had been violent with her 20 times. During training camp, Brown again called the matter “just a moment” and reiterated that he doesn’t regret anything about his previous comments.

There were never any charges, but the the situation revealed again just how the NFL struggles to get punishment for alleged domestic-violence incidents right. After uneven punishment over Ray Rice and other incidents in 2014, the NFL changed its personal conduct policy and can punish players absent a conviction. There are guidelines for the length of the suspension, but Brown’s single-game suspension was controversial and MMQB.com’s Peter King calls the policy “a PR mechanism.” The personal conduct policy,” he writes, “is in place primarily to take the heat off the owners so that folks feel better about pouring money into the coffers of their favorite team.”

The NFL, which conducted an investigation over the Brown matter, has not explained the one-game suspension and the Giants have stood by him in the face of criticism, with owner John Mara saying last month that he was “comfortable” keeping him on the roster.

“When we made the decision to re-sign Brown back in [2016], we were certainly aware of the arrest. We were also aware of the allegations associated with that arrest, and the fact the charges were dropped within a couple of days after the arrest,” Mara said in an impromptu press conference.

“Based on the facts and circumstances that we were aware of at that time, we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him. Nothing that has happened in the mean time to make us question that decision. … We attempted to make a informed decision here. We’ll live with the results of that decision.”

And now Brown is back and tuning out the noise.

“I can understand social perceptions,” he said Sunday, “but I’m not going to go hunting down what the opinions are because the opinions are probably going to be wrong.”

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