It took one arrest for domestic violence, one drunken night at the Pro Bowl, two releases of damning documents and unprecedented public outrage for the Giants to finally cut Josh Brown.
Who will be the next Molly Brown to come forward when the NFL and its teams still don’t get it? Which highly respected NFL owner will follow John Mara and painfully admit they were misguided in handling domestic violence? When will Roger Goodell learn strong words and threatening new policies must be backed up by decisive and meaningful action to avoid being just empty promises?
If Mara, whom I’ve known for three decades as an honorable man with a strong conscience, can lose his way so badly despite having the blueprint of the Ray Rice crisis of 2014 to guide him, then no progress has been made by the NFL the last two years.
“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” Mara said in a statement Tuesday. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility.”
The Ravens cut Rice seven months after he slugged his future wife in an elevator. Unfortunately, they didn’t make a move until the gruesome and now infamous second elevator video was released. It took the Giants an inexplicable 17 months to get rid of Brown — and only after shocking new documents were released last week — and they even gave him a two-year, $4 million contract with a raise less than one year after he was arrested.
This is about so much more than the money, but Brown will collect every penny of the pro-rated portion of his $1.225 million base salary he was due for the final 10 weeks of the season, according to two sources. That comes to $720,058.
As a vested veteran, his 2016 salary is guaranteed because Brown was activated during the season and he is entitled to file for termination pay to receive the $72,058 in base salary he was due for each week for the final 10 weeks. He had already received a $500,000 roster bonus for making the team and a $25,000 workout bonus. He also had an additional $250,000 roster bonus that was calculated at $15,625 for each game he was on the active roster. He will only get that for the five games he played. He loses out on $171,875. Instead of making $2 million this year, he will make $1.756 million. The money he lost out on includes the $87,000 in salary and roster bonus when he was suspended the first week.
Overall, it’s a small price to pay.
Molly Brown feared the NFL would attempt to bury the claims against her husband.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images for DirecTV)
Mara must know that a three-paragraph quote in a press release Tuesday doesn’t provide any answers as to why and how he came to make such a colossal mistake that damaged the Giants brand and his own reputation. The NFL has a treasure chest of resources to help prevent “misguided” decisions, but still is clueless how to deal with punishing players who abuse women.
The league finds a way to uncover the slightest indiscretion by college players as they do their due diligence draft research. It’s almost inconceivable that the league’s experienced set of investigators — the rep in Seattle used to work for the FBI — couldn’t overcome roadblocks put up by the Seattle police not providing requested materials and get information from other sources.
How can the Brown case be too tough to crack for a former FBI agent and his assistant, who is a homicide detective in the Seattle police force?
Ultimately, with Mara revealing Thursday that Brown “admitted to us that he abused his wife in the past. I think what’s a little unclear is the extent of that,” it makes it appear the only great revelation to the Giants in the last week was the degree of public backlash.
“I have physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly,” words written by Brown that will be his Giants legacy, although he backtracked in what turned out to be his farewell statement Tuesday. He said, “It is important to share that I never struck my wife, and never would.”
Then again, Brown admitted in the documents released last week that he had been a liar most of his life.
Just as in the Rice case, I have an issue with all the blame being placed on Goodell and, in this case, Mara. Why? The NFL is being counted on to clean up the mess left over by law enforcement. Rice never went to trial, never went to jail and entered a pretrial diversionary program. Charges were dropped when he completed the program 15 months after he was arrested.
The Brown case was kept open for a year in the hope that Molly Brown would change her mind and cooperate. The case was closed last week.
The authorities in New Jersey didn’t bring Rice to trial and the authorities in the Seattle area didn’t even charge Brown, so the pressure was turned up on the NFL to bring justice to each player. Is that really supposed to be the way it works? Is justice supposed to come from the law or the league?
Even so, given that Goodell promised the NFL would come down tougher on domestic violence abusers, and that the league should have learned from the Rice embarrassment if it wants to find out the facts, it has to do the work itself and not count on the police in many cases, the NFL and the Giants failed to hold up their end.
Molly Brown didn’t want to cooperate with the NFL, fearing it would be looking to bury the incident and protect Brown. Does the next Molly Brown have incentive to step forward and cooperate with the NFL? Not after the way this case was handled.
Mara must explain exactly when Brown admitted to the Giants that he had abused his wife. Did it come last Thursday after his journal and other materials were released? If it came earlier, and Brown provided detail, how could he still be on the roster? Not that a player’s status should make a bit of difference, but the fact the Giants were willing to take such a huge hit to keep a kicker, a replaceable part, makes their leniency even more inexplicable.
In this case, Brown’s journal became Rice’s second elevator video. Neither was needed for the proper discipline to be handed out in the first place.
One agent was telling me Tuesday that he can’t get a team to sign one of his clients who was once arrested for domestic violence. The agent predicted that any college player who has domestic violence in his past is not going to get drafted in the current climate.
Unless, of course, misguided becomes the new excuse.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News