It is easy to write checks to domestic violence prevention groups and it is easy to broadcast public service announcements condemning assaults against women.
But as the NFL and the Giants are learning, it’s a lot harder to persuade domestic violence victims that the league and its teams are interested in their safety and well-being.
Josh Brown’s ex-wife Molly Brown feared the NFL and the Giants would rally around the Big Blue kicker and “look to vilify her in the media” after Brown was arrested on domestic violence allegations in May 2015, according to the explosive documents released by the King County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office Wednesday.
“Molly believed the team would look for ways to sweep this whole thing under the rug and say that she was making everything up,” according to a report prepared by Detective Robin L. Ostrum.
“Molly was very upfront that in her experience, the NFL says that they have a no-tolerance policy on domestic violence but the reality is that they do more crisis management and look to cover things up,” Ostrum added.
Molly Brown also told Ostrum and other officials that her husband’s alleged violence was common knowledge among some Giants players and their wives — but nobody did anything.
“Several of Josh’s teammates were aware of the domestic violence in their relationship, but it is clear that none of them did anything to call it to the attention of the team management or take action to help Molly out,” the report says. A spokesman for the Giants declined comment, but the team issued a statement Thursday that said Brown will not travel to London.
Brown was arrested in May 2015 on suspicion of domestic violence in Woodinville, Wash. According to a memo King County prosecutors sent to the sheriff’s office after Ostrum closed the case on Sept. 14, charges will not be filed against Josh Brown because his ex-wife was reluctant to pursue the case.
“The investigation was left open for over a year in the Sheriff’s Office as a precaution in case Ms. Brown later expressed a renewed support for criminal prosecution,” the memo said. “Now it is declined.”
Molly Brown told investigators she had already received pressure from “people in Josh’s camp” — Scott Weitz, Pete Moran and Chris Black — to ease up on the domestic violence allegations. Moran is the founder and president of Rezin Sports Marketing, a Seattle company that listed Josh Brown as one of its clients. Weitz is listed on Rezin’s website as “principal/agent.” It was not clear who Black is.
Molly Brown feared the NFL would try to protect her husband after her domestic violence allegations.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images for DirecTV)
“From their conversations with Molly, she had ended up feeling that they were trying to get her to make sure no charges were filed against Josh,” Ostrum wrote. Moran and Weitz did not return calls for comment.
The documents released Wednesday demonstrate the challenges facing the NFL as it struggles to address domestic violence and sexual assault two years after commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the league had badly mishandled how it investigated and disciplined players accused of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Facing one of the biggest crises of his 10-year tenure as commissioner, Goodell acknowledged at his now-infamous Sept. 19, 2014 news conference that he had dropped the ball when he initially suspended the Ravens’ Ray Rice just two games for knocking out his fiancé in a casino elevator.
As the Daily News reported earlier this month, Goodell and the NFL continue to stumble when it comes to disciplining players. The Josh Brown case is Exhibit A: The Giants kicker was suspended for just one game even though his ex-wife told the cops that her husband had been physically violent with her more than 20 times. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was aware of that, but said its investigators were unable to corroborate the information.
It wasn’t just the length of the suspension, it was the way the NFL explained it.
The league said in a statement that Brown’s suspension was far below the six-game baseline for domestic violence cases approved by the owners in 2014 in part because Molly Brown declined to cooperate with its investigators. Advocates for domestic violence victims say it is not unusual for women who have been assaulted by partners to be reticent to report abuse because they are financially dependent on their partner, because they don’t want to disrupt their families — or because they simply don’t think they will be believed.
“Think of the political climate now,” said Katie Ray-Jones of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, whose organization receives funding from the NFL.
“There is the rush of ‘You have to be able to prove the domestic violence occurred. Where’s the video?’ Think about if two and a half years ago, there was no video (of the Rice assault). Where would we be now?”
The NFL also said it went easy on Josh Brown because law-enforcement officials refused to provide information to its investigators, and the documents released Wednesday confirm that. The documents say Ostrum was contacted repeatedly by NFL investigators, but she declined to share information from what was an ongoing case.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News