By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- As developments are made in the reporting on the incidents and admissions of Josh Brown's domestic violence, the picture only worsens for the National Football League, Roger Goodell and the New York Giants.
NFL "Investigators" Didn't Try Very Hard To Obtain Information On Brown
As far as the league is concerned, a Seattle-area sheriff has lambasted the NFL for not identifying itself when requesting information related to Brown's arrest. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's Office referred to the NFL as a "bully" for blaming the sheriff's office for not releasing pertinent information regarding Brown.
Urquhart told KIRO Radio that if league investigator Rob Agnew had just told the sheriff's department that the request was coming from the NFL, the information would have been shared:
"Nowhere on the request does he say that he works for the NFL and so, we don't know that it's the NFL and we're not gonna give it out anyway, so we denied it. 'NFL, National Football League,' he could have [said] any of that. Robert Agnew, Comcast.net, post office box in Woodinville. We had no idea who this yokel is."
And even though some of the documents unveiled by Ralph Vacchiano of SNY were not available months ago, Urquhart said that he would have shared information by word of mouth to help the NFL learn more about the player who had been accused of mentally and emotionally abusing his wife for years.
"Since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it's the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had [available on public records]. We've got some goofus from Woodinville named Rob Agnew asking for the case file. We have no idea who he is. ... We would have told them, 'Be careful, NFL, don't rush into this. This case is blossoming way more than what happened on May 22 of 2015 [the date of the arrest]. We're getting more information, be careful.' Again, we're not gonna give them specifics but we certainly would have cautioned the NFL to be careful about what they were going to do."
The bottom line here is that just like with the halfhearted Ray Rice "investigation," the NFL did not exhaust all avenues in the search to determine the extent of a player's history of domestic abuse. Meanwhile, reporters from Deadspin, the New York Daily News and SNY.tv managed to obtain numerous documents from the public record that detailed Brown's history of abuse.
Deadspin's Diana Moskovitz showed Thursday that obtaining some of the damning Brown information was as simple as just requesting it. The NFL failed to even do that.
Commissioner Roger Goodell promised, in the wake of the embarrassment and shame of the Ray Rice cover-up, that it would take domestic violence charges much more seriously in the future. Since then, the league has sought to obtain information on Greg Hardy while promising to keep it a secret from the public, and it has repeated the halfhearted "investigation" in the case of Brown.
No investigator is so incompetent as to fail to identify his association. The omission of "NFL" from Agnew's information request is the mark of a man who was likely told to dig -- but not too deep.
NFL Statement, Unsurprisingly, Stained With Deceit
The NFL weighed in on the Josh Brown matter on Thursday, releasing a statement which prompted that Washington sheriff to refer to the league as a "bully."
In the statement, the NFL shifted all blame to the King's County Sheriff's Office, stating that multiple requests for records were denied. Here's a sampling:
"Each of those requests was denied and the Sheriff's Office declined to provide us any of the requested information, which ultimately limited our ability to fully investigate this matter. ... It is unfortunate that we did not have the benefit or knowledge of these materials at the time."
Even if the NFL were being completely truthful, here's the problem: The league was well aware about an incident involving a belligerent Brown pounding on the hotel door of his wife just this past January, which took place during the league's "investigation" into Brown.
The league's solution at the time, according to Brown's ex-wife, was to have NFL security move her and her children to a different hotel, one "where Josh would not know where they were."
This information was available to the NFL during the "investigation" because the NFL was intimately involved with the specific incident. Yet, according to the NFL, the blame for a lack of information falls at the feet of the King's County Sheriff's Office -- the same office that provided detailed information to several different reporters who were armed only with a cell phone and an email address. The multi-billion-dollar league and its hefty investigative unit -- the league that invested millions of dollars to pay a consulting firm to bend the basic laws of science in order to fit the narrowly targeted "investigation" into another player -- would like you to believe that it could not obtain the same information.
The Giants Knew Of Brown's Spousal Abuse ... Just Not The 'Extent'
The New York Giants are willing to accept a certain level of domestic violence out of their players.
That was the takeaway from Giants co-owner John Mara's impromptu interview on WFAN with Mike Francesa on Thursday afternoon.
For one, Mara said this:
"I can't answer right now what the future holds for him. I think we need to gather some information and then try to make as intelligent a decision as we can."
Mara said as much after these words from Brown became public knowledge: "I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave. ... I have physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife." Yet, before making any decisions on the employment of his kicker, Mara needs to "gather some information."
Francesa asked Mara if the team felt deceived by the most recent revelations about Brown. Mara said that he did not feel hoodwinked, and that Brown had been honest with the team prior to the Giants' offering of a $4 million contract.
"Listen, he's admitted to us that he's abused his wife in the past. I think what's a little unclear is the extent of that."
"The extent of that" matters to the New York Giants. Some abuse of his wife is acceptable to the organization; it's just a matter of whether he crossed an arbitrary line.
Then there is head coach Ben McAdoo, who famously talked a tough game upon getting the job that the one thing he would not tolerate on his team is domestic violence. Yet he's sheepishly steered clear of involving himself with Brown's domestic violence incidents since day one, and on WFAN with Francesa on Thursday, he had the nerve to plead ignorance.
"I just have bits and pieces. We've been focused here, we're treating it as a short week to make sure we get all our preparation in for the Rams. So I just have bits and pieces."
The man who stood tall against the idea of domestic violence is now cowering in the presence of actual domestic violence, instead choosing to focus solely on his little football game.
Much like in the league office, bravery is in thin supply throughout the entirety of the New York Giants organization.
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