The Giants Have Finally Released Josh Brown, Who Admitted to Domestic Abuse

Josh Brown
Josh Brown has kicked his last field goal for the New York Giants. Chris Keane/Reuters

The New York Giants on Tuesday released kicker Josh Brown after an admission that he abused his wife was made public. The NFL had suspended Brown for the first game of the 2016 season after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in May 2015. Brown was not charged, but the case file contained journal entries in which he admitted to abuse. The entries were released on October 19, and six days later the Giants have severed ties with the 14-year veteran.

After the admission was made public, the NFL placed Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, which means he was not able to participate in practices or games, but would still be able to collect his base salary. The move drew criticism, as in 2014 Commissioner Roger Goodell instituted a mandatory six-game suspension for domestic violence. Brown had been arrested, admitted to abuse and still the league felt it needed to conduct an investigation before levying the suspension. What gives?

The NFL of course has a reputation for mishandling domestic violence cases. Goodell's decision to institute a mandatory six-game suspension came after he mishandled the case of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice had been arrested for assault, and video surfaced of the Pro Bowler's dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer, his then-fiancée, from an elevator prior to the arrest. Goodell suspended Rice only two games. After the full video was released—which showed Rice punching Palmer in the face—he was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the league.

It was disheartening, then, to see the NFL once again treat a domestic abuser favorably. The Giants have also been the subject of criticism, as they gave Brown a two-year, $4 million contract this offseason despite the arrest. "We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh," team president and co-owner John Mara said in a statement. "Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility.

"We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father. We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution."

Brown, for his part, has shown remorse. "The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life," he wrote in a statement released through the team. "My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man. I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way.

"In the coming days and weeks, I plan on telling more of the pain I had caused and the measures taken to get help so I may be the voice of change and not a statistic. In the interim I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down."

Though the NFL may say they wanted to make sure they had the facts right, and the Giants say they were misguided and Brown is full of remorse, the now-former kicker's case is only the latest example the league's tendency to go out of its way to protect domestic abusers. When Ray Rice was arrested and seen dragging Palmer out of an elevator in 2014, those who knew him, most of those who coached him and those who played with him sprung to his suspense, even though what had happened was obvious. Though the league has been reprimanded by the public since then, the tendency is still to give its players the benefit of the doubt. As veteran wide receiver Steve Smith tweeted following Brown's admission being made public, the NFL, despite everything, is still only "act[ing] like it cares."