Josh Brown is gone from the Giants, but the stench lingers.
While GM Jerry Reese was running away from his responsibility by pleading “No More” to questions about the overdue removal of Brown, there was Eli Manning, the star of the NFL’s “No More” anti-domestic violence public service announcements, attempting to reconcile having Brown as a teammate for two months after it was revealed he abused his wife.
Manning is not the spokesman of the Giants. That’s John Mara, Steve Tisch, Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo. But as the one of the spokesmen of the NFL’s anti-DV campaign, he needed to take a stronger stance against Brown when he was with the Giants and now that he’s not.
“I’m not in position to judge a person,” Manning said Monday. “There’s a situation, understand what’s right and wrong and how to conduct yourself, how to treat women and treat children and people. I think you can speak out on that and how to do it. But also, when it happens or someone may have experienced that or gone through that, you still support the person, they’re still a friend, they’re still a teammate and you stand up for them. But you can still preach about doing things the right way. It sounds like you’re having conflicting thoughts, but I’m not in that position to judge a certain person or speak badly about a person because they may have done something.”
When the Giants returned from the bye Monday, Brown’s nameplate was removed from above his locker about 60 feet down the row from where Manning sits. Brown’s cubicle was still stuffed with all his football belongings, including his helmet with the No. 3. The Giants should have just shoved it all in a plastic bag and left it out front in their facility for him to pick up when nobody was around.
Manning appeared with other players in the first domestic violence PSA the league produced two years ago as an immediate reaction to how badly it handled the Ray Rice affair. Manning was the first face on the screen and looked incredibly serious saying, “No More.” In the next series of “No More,” PSAs, where players tried to force themselves to cry, Manning looked distraught. Brown’s behavior was contrary to everything Manning stood for in that PSA.
“I don’t know exactly what Josh did,” Manning insisted. “I don’t know all the details. You hear something, you hear this or that. So I’m not going to be one to stand up and shame somebody or speak badly about a person until I knew exactly all the details and I still wouldn’t speak badly about a person. That’s not my job.
“In that, I felt strongly that as a society, domestic violence is something we should not accept in men. People should be treating others better. I believe in that. But I still don’t think it’s my job to speak directly to a certain person or badly about a certain person.”
Of course, that’s Reese’s job.
He addressed the media Monday for the first time since the opening day of training camp back in July. How that’s for being accessible and accountable? Reese is the No. 1 football person in the organization. He’s also the one who signed Brown to a two-year, $4 million deal in the spring, one year after he was arrested for abusing his wife and a few months after he arrived drunk at her hotel room at the Pro Bowl and tried to force his way in.
Back page of the New York Daily News for Oct. 26, 2016.
(New York Daily News)
But Reese was indignant even being asked to comment on Brown. That’s great leadership. The Maras and Tisches should be proud of him. He has never commented about Brown since the domestic violence story broke in August.
”I’m not answering or taking any questions on Josh Brown,” Reese said Monday. “I wish healing for him and his family and everyone involved. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
When Reese was pressed about re-signing Brown this year, he got belligerent. “I’m not taking any questions in respect to Josh Brown, guys,” he said. “Stop asking me. I’m not going to take any questions about that, okay?”
Manning is a good guy and his heart is in the right place. But he was conflicted in the Brown case. The Manning Way is to never criticize a teammate for anything: He never points fingers at a teammate for running the wrong route that leads to an INT, he won’t get on a teammate for fumbling, even his criticisms of Odell Beckham’s behavior have been tame. Manning had to be appalled at Brown’s behavior and, in this case, should have broken his own locker room code and called him out.
Enough details came out in August — even before shocking documents were released two weeks ago — to know that Brown was a bad guy. I asked Manning if he had a hard time accepting Brown in the locker room.
“I just don’t know if I had all the details what exactly happened. I don’t know what occurred. I wasn’t one to try and research exactly what occurred,” he said. “I think you can still have a strong stance on the way you treat people but still be able to have a teammate and to treat them well and treat them like a teammate.”
That protective attitude is why Manning is beloved by teammates. “I just wish Josh, his whole family, that they can move on and go on and kind of get through this time,” he said.
Maybe Reese one day will feel compelled to address real life issues. Don’t hold your breath. The next time he speaks to the media will be the day after the season — if he still has his job.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News