Once again the National Football League inflicts lasting damage on itself because it still can’t get things right when it comes to domestic violence. This time it’s because of a Giants placekicker named Josh Brown, the latest abuser of women for whom Goodell and the Giants and the league require a do-over, even after the makeover the league gave its policy on domestic violence. You know, upon further review.
There is a lot to unpack, not just with Goodell but with Giants co-owner John Mara and Mara’s decision to re-sign Brown to a two-year contract even after he, Brown, admitted to the team that he had abused his ex-wife Molly. John Mara spoke a few months ago about “accusations” with Brown. Only now it turns out that they were a bit more than that, even if Brown — who was such a tough and violent guy with his ex-wife for a long time — didn’t tell the league or the Giants the whole truth about the full extent of his abuse.
Brown in that moment didn’t care about telling the whole truth, or doing the right thing with a woman, at last. He was more concerned with himself and his football future. So he covered up, and acted like a coward in the process.
But when you are unpacking the mess that Goodell and the Giants have made here — and believing Brown’s version of things is neither a reason nor an excuse — you also have to believe that he never would have kept a journal as part of marriage counseling, a journal in which Brown actually did tell the truth about the way he has treated women his whole life, if he ever dreamt it would be made public. At a time when there is hardly any sympathy for Brown anywhere, as he is being properly flogged in the public square, there at least has to be some consideration for that.
But Brown certainly has everybody scrambling to cover up now. The authorities in Washington state are blaming the league’s investigators and the league is defending a new policy on domestic violence that is about as effective, just going off Josh Brown’s case, as the old one. The NFL ripped up that old one, you bet, and brought in a lot of smart women to enforce the new one, with Goodell’s blessing. Now here we are, asking the same question I asked a while ago:
If Brown originally got just a one-game suspension from the league just off what they knew without a journal that is the same here as the Ray Rice elevator video, what WOULD this guy have had to do to get the max, which means six games?
Once again, it is the league now getting flogged in the public square because Goodell and his people clearly don’t know what to do with all this disciplinary power the NFL Players Association gave them, power they were plainly willing to fight all the way to the Supreme Court in Deflategate to preserve and protect.
Here, by the way, is what Goodell said the other day to the BBC, before the Giants-Rams game in England, about the Josh Brown case, whom he is clearly going to have to re-suspend the way he did Ray Rice, or perhaps send to the moon:
“I understand the public’s misunderstanding of those things and how that can be difficult for them to understand how we get to those positions. But those are things that we have to do. I think it’s a lot deeper and a lot more complicated than it appears, but it gets a lot of focus.”
Gets a lot of focus. Good to know.
And please let’s not have Goodell tell us he was just going off what he knew when the league only imposed that one-game suspension. And please let’s not have John Mara or anybody else with the Giants telling us that they were just going off the information they had when they voluntarily gave Brown a brand-spanking-new contract. Everybody absolutely had enough information at the time, unless they decided that it was the victim in this case, Brown’s ex-wife Molly, who wasn’t telling the whole truth.
Let’s not have the football authorities here act as if they were the victims of Josh Brown lying to them, by omission at least.
When Goodell put himself in the barrel — where he remains, maybe for as long as he keeps his job — we were told that he and the league were taking their lead from the Atlantic County (N.J.) prosecutor’s office on Ray Rice. Now we are told, after the fact, of course, that the league just couldn’t get the information it needed from the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington state, which this week ridiculed a league investigator as being a “yokel” because of the way the guy originally looked for any and all public information records concerning Molly Brown.
You can see how this goes. When everything turns into an oil slick with these things, as it so often does, it is always somebody else’s fault. And it is the people who look at themselves, always, as the good guys, who are going to protect the NFL shield and brand and integrity and show the world how much it cares about women at a time when it is desperate for moms in this country to keep allowing their sons to play football, who somehow end up hitting themselves right between the eyes.
If Goodell and the Giants didn’t know enough about Josh Brown and what he did to his ex-wife, that is on them. They never actually call themselves victims, because that would be too insensitive considering subject matter as important — and often dangerous — as this one is. But there is always the faint whiff of this, as they throw up their hands and say we did as much as we could do off what we knew.
So Goodell needs to stop defending his policy and do a better job of defending women without needing do-overs for that. John Mara, one of the best and smartest people I’ve ever met in sports, needs to stop explaining how he ended up where he did with Josh Brown, because he does himself absolutely no good by trying. And stop having the team issue statements about how it doesn’t condone domestic violence, just do a better job of proving it.
John should simply say this: I was wrong. Goodell should say the same thing. They both got this wrong. Dead wrong. This isn’t about compassion or the second chance Brown might someday get from football, or if he might turn his life around the way Ray Rice has. This is about judgment and common sense and, oh by the way, learning from history.
You know how guys can really show how tough they are? By saying they were wrong once in a while. By wearing it.
Odell’s head, get replay right & Jets are 1-5, period . . .
– Every time you want to cut Odell Beckham Jr. some slack, just because of the way he can play the game, he nearly costs his team again for acting like a chumpwit.
The Giants didn’t lose a game to the Ravens that Eli and Beckham won for them with that slant pass and run.
But they could have because the kid got flagged again for pulling off his helmet as soon as he ran through the end zone, and the Ravens got the better field position they did after the Giants kicked off.
From the time Beckham made that one-handed catch against the Cowboys, we have gone out of our way, all of us, to convince him that the world is hanging on every word of his, and every move.
But it has become clear that Beckham goes out of his way to make himself as annoying as defensive backs make him.
He keeps going out of his way to act like a supremely talented jerk.
I want people to stop telling me what a great team guy he is.
Not when he acts the way he did after that touchdown he’s not.
Not after another flag and another fine.
– We’ve all moved on from what happened in Los Angeles the other night, but how in the world did anybody in New York looking at that play at the plate with Adrian Gonzalez decide he was out?
He wasn’t out.
He was safe.
He was safe from every angle.
It turned out to be a blowout game, and so nobody cared much for what would have been the first run of the game.
But it was the wrong call by the home plate umpire and it was the wrong call by the replay umpire.
Maybe everybody can do better in the Fall Classic.
– Look around the NFL and tell me which team has played worse than the Jets so far, and that includes the Bears.
On both sides of the ball.
This isn’t all the schedule’s fault.
It isn’t all the quarterback’s fault.
It doesn’t matter that I thought they would be better than this, and Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and maybe even Woody Johnson thought they would do better than this (of course Woody thought his guy Trump would, too).
The wisdom on this, the way a lot of things do in pro football, comes from Bill Parcells:
Nobody cares why you lost.
They just remember that you lost.
– Tell me if you’re thinking what I’m thinking:
That at least one of the guys the Yankees got for Andrew Miller better turn out to be as good at baseball as Andrew Miller is.
Terry Francona’s 2004 Red Sox: Win their last eight straight in the postseason.
Francona’s ’07 Red Sox: Win their last seven straight in the postseason.
Francona’s ’16 Indians: Currently working on seven of eight in the postseason.
Guy still knows how to play a hot hand at this time of year, doesn’t he?
– Who’s Hannity going to need more on Nov. 9, a crisis manager or a grief counselor?
Tweet from the great Dan Jenkins the other day:
“Let me see if I’ve got this right: Tiger’s afraid to put his game on display at the Safeway Classic, but he might win five more majors?”
– My friend Mr. Imus suggested what would have been two awesome drinking games at the presidential debates:
1) Every time Trump uses the word “disaster.”
2) Every time Hillary fake-laughs at something Trump just said.
You know what Brian Kelly probably didn’t think he’d need before the Notre Dame season made it to Election Day?
A vote of confidence of his own.
See what I did there?
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News