[UPDATE: Brown has been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List by the NFL.]
When the New York Giants made the decision Thursday night to leave placekicker Josh Brown behind when they boarded a plane for London in the wake of new information about his history of domestic abuse I asked if that was enough for Giants’ fans
For me it’s not. It is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t nearly enough. As I indicated on Thursday, Brown should never kick for the Giants again.
Co-owner Mara told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that the team would “revisit” the Brown issue once they returned from London. Revisit? Seriously, what is there to revisit?
What bothers me, in addition to the revelations about Brown’s abusive past, is the hypocrisy of the position Mara has taken.
Remember what Mara said in 2014 after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell banned Ray Rice following the video of his punching his then-girlfriend in an elevator? He said this:
“There is no place for domestic violence in our sport or in our society, and we are committed to doing our part to prevent such heinous acts going forward.”
In December of that same year, with the new personal conduct policy in place, Mara said this to Jenny Vrentas of MMQB:
“I think we’re responding the right way. We need to do a better job handling these issues, and I think this is a step in the right direction. We want our standards to be higher, we want there to be more education, and we want the penalties to be tougher, because we want to do what we can to put an end to domestic violence and sexual assault. These are big issues in our society, and we need to do our part to make sure we are doing the right things to educate our own staff, our own players, and to try to eradicate these awful issues.”
Yet, when faced with knowing that he had an admitted domestic abuser in his locker room, Mara’s “no place for domestic violence in our sport” stance went out the window.
When the domestic violence allegations against Brown first came to light, resulting in a one-game suspension by the league, Mara said the Giants knew about the situation and were “comfortable” with their choice to re-sign Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract during the offseason.
Thursday, Mara said that Brown had admitted to him that he had abused his wife. He also said he knew about the incident at the Pro Bowl in February where an apparently intoxicated Brown allegedly tried to force his way into his wife’s hotel room. That resulted in the NFL moving Molly Brown and her children to a secure location unknown to Josh Brown. Yet, Mara told Francesa that he was “still comfortable” with having re-signed Brown.
Huh? That’s the height of hypocrisy. It is plainly obvious now that the Giants knew enough about Brown’s past that they never should have re-signed him in the first place. By doing so, Mara made a mockery of his previous statements about domestic violence, and put a massive crack in the reputation of a franchise that has always billed itself as a pillar of the NFL, a model for others to follow.
Sorry, John. You showed your hand here. The Giants aren’t better, or worse, than any other franchise. At least, not any longer. Not after this embarrassment. Winning comes first. Josh Brown happens to be a really good placekicker. There wasn’t a better one available, so you turned a blind eye. Shame on you.
Mara also told Francesa that "We think we need to gather some more information before we make a final decision” on Brown’s future with the team.
What more information does he need? How can Mara not see that there is no way forward for the Giants and Brown? The only answer that leaves the Giants with a shred of credibility is to move on permanently without Brown.
I get the fact that the Giants want to help Brown pull his life together, that they feel he is remorseful and is trying to make amends. That, however, doesn’t mean they have to keep him on the roster.
The Giants can still do the right thing. They still have to do the right thing. It will be late, but better late than never.