Like many, Annie Apple was stunned by the New York Giants’ poor handling of Josh Brown after it was revealed that the kicker admitted to abusing his wife. And like many, she voiced those concerns.
The Giants don’t have the power to muzzle any of those voices, but she says team attempted to flex its muscles and pressure rookie cornerback Eli Apple into silencing his mother.
On Thursday, the cornerback told reporters that his mom’s accusations weren’t accurate:
“She was a little bit upset and I didn’t have a chance to really talk to her, and I guess throughout that whole thing that’s just how she felt, but I never had a chance to talk to her or anything, so maybe that’s just an assumption of hers that she just felt in her gut,” Eli Apple said, via the New York Daily News. “But it’s definitely false. Nobody’s leaning on me or anything telling me things to tell her. It’s not like that at all. I think the Giants are a class organization, and I’m just happy to be here.”
Two weeks ago, Apple told reporters that he had a conversation with the Giants about his mother’s comments, although he didn’t say whether or not the team asked him to control her message.
“I talked to them and let them know my mom’s reactions sometimes are like that. She’s her own person and she’s going to do that. I have no control, so I’ve just got to do my job and that’s just play football,” Eli Apple told NJ.com on Oct. 23, the same day his mom wrote a lengthy criticism of comments made by Giants owner John Mara.
The Giants publicly backed Brown throughout accusations that he had abused his wife, and the team refused to part ways with the kicker. Even after court documents revealed Brown admitted to the abuse, Giants owner John Mara said the kicker previously told the team about his spousal abuse, but “what's a little unclear is the extent of that.” Five days later, the team finally released Brown.
“One of the worst things you can do to a domestic violence victim or survivor is to defend the abuser,” Annie Apple wrote in a deeply personal column for Sports Illustrated that accounted her own experiences with domestic abuse. “These abusive men aren't abusing the women in their lives because they're sick. These abusers are not the victims. They're abusing women because they can.
“Some have called me a distraction because speaking up for a cause the Giants have reportedly championed for years makes me a distraction. Others have called me a hero for speaking up. Honestly, I'm not a hero. I'm not special. I just know that in life, there are times when certain things are more important than your personal comfort or the game of football.”
Apple has never been one to withhold her opinion — something the Giants should’ve been aware of before the team drafted her son, Eli, with the No. 10 overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft. On Wednesday, in another column for Sports Illustrated, Apple said she was livid with the Giants not only for Mara’s comments or for the team’s handling of Brown, but also because the team tried to get her son to quiet down his mother.
“I felt they were leaning heavily on a 21-year-old kid in an effort to control what his mother says,” Apple wrote. “That’s not fair. I know the NFL is a business. I get it. But where in business school is showing basic human compassion and accountability not a good thing?”
Eli Apple has been in a bit of a precarious position of juggling his rookie season along with what seems like a battle between the franchise and his mother.
After botching the handling of Brown and receiving a tremendous amount of criticism as a consequence, the last thing the Giants should be doing is making an effort to silence a mother and domestic abuse victim from speaking out. But Eli Apple insists that’s not what is happening.