Annie Apple accuses Giants of leaning on son to control criticism

Annie Apple levied a serious accusation against the Giants on Wednesday, writing she was “livid” with the team in late October in part because she felt the organization was “leaning” on her son, rookie cornerback Eli Apple, “in an effort to control” his mother’s criticism of the club.

“I was livid with the Giants, not just because of John Mara’s comments but I was disappointed in the organization because I felt they were leaning heavily on a 21-year-old kid in an effort to control what his mother says,” Annie Apple wrote in a column on SI.com.

A Giants spokesman said the organization had no comment early Wednesday evening.

Nothing reinforces how badly the Giants mishandled the Josh Brown domestic violence situation better than Annie Apple – a person with a vested interest in not criticizing the Giants, given her son’s employment – continuing to impugn the organization’s integrity.

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Apple’s unsupported accusation against the Giants, however, also puts her son Eli in an even more awkward position than he was already in, toeing the line between supporting family and remaining loyal to his team.

Wednesday’s column was published after her son had addressed the media, so the rookie first-round pick out of Ohio State will not have an opportunity to clarify until Thursday at the earliest – if Mara or the Giants don’t choose to, that is. One would think someone has to speak on the matter, given the gravity of the accusation.

“She’s her own person and she has a great, tremendous personality,” Eli Apple said Wednesday when asked generally about his mother’s outspoken personality. “And she’s been through a lot, and I just appreciate everything she’s done for me.”

John Mara has been the focal point of Apple's criticism.

John Mara has been the focal point of Apple’s criticism.

(Michael Ainsworth/AP)

Eli Apple had provided a glimpse into his uncomfortable position after the Giants’ 17-10 win over the Rams in London on Oct. 23, though, when he described his reaction to his mother’s tell-all column the same day as: “godd–n.”

Giants’ Eli Apple reacts to mother’s blasting of John Mara

His mother, in fact, then admitted on Wednesday that she had flown to London in Week 7 but did not go to the game at Twickenham because she couldn’t bring herself to support Big Blue.

“At that moment I just couldn’t cheer for a team I felt had turned its back on what was right to protect an image,” Apple wrote on Wednesday. “It was difficult because I love my son and I’ve always been in his corner at every game, but for me, this was bigger than a game.”

Her accusation that the Giants were “leaning” on her son to “control” her message seemingly is related to the events of Oct. 20. Annie Apple had tweeted pointed criticism after Mara, the Giants’ president and co-owner, had said that day on WFAN of Brown, an admitted abuser: “He admitted to us that he’s his wife in the past. And I think what’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”

Annie Apple tweeted then: “As a domestic violence survivor, reading these Mara comments makes me sad, angry and completely baffled. He just doesn’t get it. This is sad.”

Eli Apple’s mother on why she spoke out against Giants owner Mara

That Sunday, before the Giants and Rams squared off, SI.com published Annie Apple’s harrowing account of her long personal history as a victim of mental and physical abuse, even during pregnancies. In the column, she also ripped Mara.

Eli Apple is now in an awkward position.

Eli Apple is now in an awkward position.

(Ken Goldfield/for New York Daily News)

“The comments made by John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, were insensitive, dismissive and callous,” she wrote on Oct. 23. “How are you a so-called champion of domestic violence but lack basic compassion for a victim? Yes, this man signs my son’s checks as I’ve been reminded on twitter. Mr. Mara owns the New York Giants. He doesn’t own Annie Apple. Wrong is wrong. And Mr. Mara’s comments were unapologetically wrong and hit at a raw place.”

Eli Apple, in an interview in the London post-game locker room, said he had approached the Giants about his mother’s criticism and basically did his best not to take a side.

“I’ll be good on that front,” he said then of his relationship with the Giants. “I talked to them, let them know my mom, her reactions like that sometimes are like that, she’s her own person, she’s gonna do that, so I’ve just got to do my job. I just made sure I talked to everybody, man, just let them know, whoever is concerned.”

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At the heart of Annie Apple’s Wednesday column, though – in which she unusually refers to her son as Black Eli – was her explanation of how difficult it was for her to re-live her painful past in that Oct. 23 story, and her rationale for why she decided to do it.

“I didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘ hey, I think I’ll let the world in on one of the worst moments in my life.’ I did so because the NY Giants failed to adequately address the issue of domestic violence nor did they show compassion to Molly Brown.”

Domestic violence is a serious problem that deserves a zero-tolerance stance. The Giants didn’t take one. They are going to continue hearing about it from people who aren’t afraid to speak, such as Annie Apple, because it’s unacceptable, and it always will be.

Tags:
josh brown
eli apple
annie apple
domestic violence
nfl
new york giants

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