Opening Statement: I wanted to address the Josh Brown situation. When we made the decision to re-sign Josh back in (2016), we were certainly aware of the arrest. We were also aware of the allegations associated with that arrest and the fact that the charges were dropped within a couple of days after the arrest. Based on the facts and circumstances that we were aware of at that time, we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him. Nothing has happened in the meantime to make us question that decision. This is an issue, domestic violence, that we take very seriously here. Everybody in this building, players and employees alike, go through a training program on issues like domestic violence and sexual abuse and DUI. We have worked very closely for many, many years, long before this became a hot button topic with an organization called, “My Sister’s Place” and this is an issue that is very personal to a lot of us. In this particular case, as an employer, it is a complicated and emotional issue and you have to make decisions based on the facts and circumstances you are presented with. When we made this decision, we knew that the NFL was going to conduct its own investigation. We had no idea how long that was going to take. Obviously, it has resulted in Josh being handed a one-game suspension. We accept that decision, we support it and now we move on. So that is my statement. With that, I will take whatever questions you have.
Q: How do you feel about the police report on the May 2015 incident, including her version at that time of a history of things happening prior to that, amounting to up to 20 incidents?
A: Well, there have been different numbers reported. We were certainly aware at the time that there were allegations of numerous incidents. Based, again, on the facts and circumstances that we are aware of, we were comfortable with our decision to sign him.
Q: So you regarded that as allegations and not necessarily what happened based on the information you had. Is that the inference?
A: Well, one thing that you learn when you are dealing with these issues is that there is a big difference between allegations and convictions, or indictments, and it is very difficult, sometimes, to sort through all of that and make informed decisions. We attempted to make an informed decision here, we will live with the results of that decision and we move forward. A lot of times there is a tendency to try to make these cases black and white. They are very rarely black and white; you very rarely have a Ray Rice video. There are allegations made, you try to sort through the facts and you try to make an informed decision. That is what we did here.
Q: What do you say to the fact that the league suspended him? They said that he did do something wrong.
A: They made their decision and we accept that decision and we move forward. We made our decision and we are comfortable with that decision.
Q: Did you investigate as an organization and find those allegations to be invalid?
A: I am not going to get into whether they were valid or invalid. We did do some due diligence on this. We had a number of conversations with a number of different people. Again, we are comfortable with the decision that we made.
Q: Are there facts that you are aware of that the public is not aware of that affected your decision?
A: I am not going to get into that and that is one of the reasons why I hesitated, quite frankly, in addressing all of you because you get into discussions like that and I don’t think it is fair or appropriate. There are privacy issues here. There are sensitive, emotional issues that affect families and it is very difficult to discuss those in public and make a situation even worse than it already is. Again, we had a lot of facts and circumstances that were presented to us, we looked at all those things. I think that this is an organization that always tries to do the right thing. I don’t know that we always get it done, but we try. We did our homework here, we got as many of the facts and circumstances in front of us as we could and we made a determination based on that.
Q: Was the interview with police one of the facts you had in front of you?
A: I am not going to get into what we had and what we didn’t have. We had enough information to allow us to make a decision and nothing that has happened since then has caused us to change our mind.
Q: In the incident report, there is an accusation that the Giants were involved with someone who was trying to blackmail the Brown family and the Giants made them go away.
A: That is ridiculous. That is completely ridiculous.
(Post-presser update from the Giants. Two points. 1) John Mara did not understand the question, especially when he heard the word “blackmail”. 2) There was no blackmail incident. We think the situation to which that question refers may have been a dispute that Josh had with his then-landlord in Hoboken over lease issues. During that dispute, Josh felt threatened by the landlord or her boyfriend. We advised Josh on how to resolve that issue and referred him to a lawyer to handle the matter.
Q: Did you require anything of Josh? Any kind of intervention?
A: Josh knows what is expected of him. It has been made pretty clear. I happen to know and I wouldn’t normally say this, but I think he has made it public that he has been going through counseling for a couple of years now. We are pretty confident that he has been very diligent about that. He has been a good citizen since he has been here. He has had conversations with a number of us on the management end, including myself, and I am confident that he is going to continue to conduct himself in a manner that we expect him to do.
Q: A lot of different members of your fan base think of this incident in a different way. What is your overall reaction and what is your message to the fans?
A: We have heard some complaints from fans. Whenever you deal with an issue like that, you are going to hear complaints about it, but again, we are trying to do the right thing here. As an employer, it is not always easy to make those decisions, but what you have to do is take each case on a case by case basis, try to educate yourself as much as possible as to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular case, and then make an informed decision. That is what we did here and we are going to stick with that decision.
Q: What made you determine that the potential distraction was outweighed by re-signing him?
A: Well, I am trying to be fair to Josh, also. Yes, it is a distraction. Yes, the easiest thing in the world for us to have done would have been to say, ‘Let’s find another kicker.” But I am trying to be fair to him as well. I think he is trying to do the right thing and he deserves an opportunity to show that he can do that.
Q: So, to clarify the blackmail situation. The Giants were never informed about that?
A: Absolutely not.
(Note: See explanation above)
Q: You have women who work in this organization. You have wives and daughters. Do you feel that Josh should be employed by the Giants?
A: I am painfully aware of that. I have four daughters and seven sisters, and I know I have to face each one of them. These are not easy decisions. It is very easy to say, ‘The guy has been accused, get rid of him, terminate him.’ But when you are sitting at the top of an organization and you are responsible for a lot of people, you better make more informed decisions than that.
Q: You didn’t have to get rid of him. He was not signed, correct?
A: It is the same thing. He had been with us.
Q: But you didn’t have to sign him?
A: That is correct.
Q: Just getting back to the comment about the difference between allegations and indictments. As we know with women who are potentially battered or go through domestic violence, there can be hesitations in coming forth or citing anything that might be present or ongoing, so how do you put that with what you were saying was the difference between allegations and indictments when you look at the syndrome of that.
A: There is no question that what you just said is correct; however, when you are in employment situations you have to make decisions based on the facts and circumstances in front of you and based on your own investigation and that is what we did and we felt that based on all of that, we were comfortable with re-signing him. I am not going to make any comments on the voracity of the allegations or anything like that, other than to say we were comfortable in making an employment decision.
Q: Does that mean that you feel that she was not truthful?
A: I did not say that.
Q: I am asking?
Q: On domestic violence, do you draw a line on conviction?
A: No. No, I don’t think we draw that line. I think the league found out a few years again that if you completely rely on the criminal justice system, that could backfire, so that is why the league has a personal conduct policy, that is why they do their own investigation and sometimes there are facts that are so compelling that they lead you to make a decision even prior to the criminal justice system. When you are an employer, you look at the problems that the judicial system has in dealing with these issues, and employers have the same problem and you have to take these things on a case by case basis and try to make informed decisions. That is what we did here.
Q: Josh said he told the team the day he was arrested. Were you aware of issues in his marriage before that?
A: He informed us also. Whether it was that day or the day after, I don’t remember. I don’t recall at the time whether we were aware of anything, at that time. We are obviously aware now of what the history was there and, again, we did our due diligence.
Q: There were 911 calls when he was living in New Jersey. You weren’t aware of those?
A: All of the allegations that I have read about over the last few days, I believe we were aware of.
Q: According to the prosecutor’s letter, he was still under investigation in May, a month after you had signed him. Did you know that was still out there?
A: I don’t recall whether he was under investigation or not. I just know that the charges had been dropped within a few days after he was arrested.
Q: Do you expect Josh to be the kicker after Week 1?
A: That is going to be a football decision. There will be a competition and that will be up to the coach.
Q: Nothing that has happened over the last week to 10 days changes his employment status in your mind?
A: It does not. It is going to be determined on the field.
Q: You said you were hesitant to talk. What made you come out today?
A: I don’t know. It is such a complex and emotional issue, I just felt that the time was right, and truthfully, I probably should have done it a couple days ago.
Q: God forbid something else happens. You said you have daughters and women in this organization. How would you regard that, because at that point it would be a minimum of six games?
A: Well, I don’t want to speculate on that, but obviously we don’t believe it will. I don’t want to speculate on that.
Q: There was a letter that said that Josh admitted to abuse against his wife. Were you aware of that? Did you look into that?
A: Jordan, all I can tell you is that we are aware of all the allegations and, I believe, all of the facts and circumstances and we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him.