The NFL issued a new six-game suspension to former Giants kicker Josh Brown on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The new ban was conveniently handed down on the same day the league expects a decision from a Texas U.S. District Court on a temporary restraining order on Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension for domestic violence.
Brown served a one-game suspension last season stemming from an arrest for domestic violence against his former wife. The NFL issued that suspension after it conducted an investigation per the terms of its personal conduct policy. The league somehow missed that Brown had admitted to being physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive toward his former spouse, even though it was included in the public record as a part of the court records from the couple’s divorce.
Those documents held plenty of insight into the situation in Brown’s own words.
"I made selfish decisions to use and abuse women starting at the age of 7 ... I objectified women and never really worried about the pain and hurt I caused them," Brown wrote in a letter to friends in 2014 acquired by NJ.com.
“My ability to connect emotionally to other people was zero. My empathy levels were zero. Because I never handled these underlying issues I became an abuser and hurt [my wife] physically, emotionally and verbally. I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave."
When this “new” information became public, the NFL reopened the investigation into Brown. That’s what triggered the new six-game suspension, though the timing seems suspect.
Brown’s arrest and suspension came well after the NFL enacted the current personal conduct policy, which provides a baseline six-game suspension for first-time offenders. It’s unclear what would constitute multiple offenses, because apparently violating a temporary protective order for domestic violence isn’t one of them. Brown was arrested but not charged for that in July 2015.
The personal conduct policy allows for that baseline number of six games to be increased for extenuating circumstances. Apparently Brown’s ready admission of over 20 incidents of violence toward his ex-wife didn’t qualify.
After the initial one-game ban, the Giants said they would “remain supportive” of Brown. The team even signed him to a new two-year, $4 million deal in April 2016, although the Giants were aware of his arrest for domestic violence.
Their willingness to stand behind the kicker changed once the new information came to light. The team placed Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list on the day after the documents went public. The Giants finally released Brown in late Oct. 2016.
Brown remains unsigned since the Giants released him. He will not appeal the suspension, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Meanwhile, the NFL is embroiled in a legal battle with Ezekiel Elliott over the six-game suspension Roger Goodell handed down to Elliott for domestic violence allegations made against him in July 2016. Elliott appealed the league’s decision, and arbitrator Harold Henderson ruled Tuesday that the suspension will be upheld. The NFLPA filed a motion last week for a temporary restraining order that would delay the start of Elliott’s six-game suspension until after the court case is resolved.
The U.S. District Court that’s hearing Elliott’s case plans to issue a ruling on that temporary restraining order today.
That’s interesting timing for news of this new Josh Brown suspension to break. The league says it’s purely a coincidence.
"We reopened the investigation based on new info," a league spokesperson said to Adam Schefter via text on Friday. "Concluded there was a violation of our personal conduct policy and imposed six-game suspension which he accepted without appeal."
But this is too little, too late from the NFL. The league tries to act like it’s serious about preventing violence against women and punishing players who commit domestic violence. But the NFL’s inconsistency in enforcing its personal conduct policy says otherwise.