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The Josh Brown case shows the NFL is still failing on domestic abuse | Les Carpenter

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The NFL has no trouble falling an iron fist on the wrong color shoes or touchdown dances, but it seems unable to punish giant all those people who made women

Few American firms are more equipped to investigate an employee than the NFL. The league and their squads spend heavily to scour the past of every prospect coming out of college, hire private eyes to stalk players in nightclubs, and collect mountains of data on everything from sleep cycles to injury danger. If fund is involved, they are relentless in what they seek.

But when it comes to matters like domestic violence cases, the worlds most lucrative athletics league crouches behind flimsy legal excuses. For months the NFL and the New York Giant have pleaded ignorance to the abuse Giants kicker Josh Brown inflicted upon his ex-wife. The team, seemingly focused only on maintaining a clutch kicker with a Super Bowl on his resum, signed him to a two-year,$ 4m contract last winter, knowing he had been arrested in 2015 for striking his then wife. At the time, enough details of that incident should have been known, including charges of repeated instances of physical abuse and intimidation.

And yet no one from the league or squad seemed very interested in actually finding out about Josh Browns divorce, or the grim tales of abuse she told police. It was as if everyone covered their eyes and hoped Molly Brown and the tale she told police would disappear. The league that is capable of discovering almost anything about any of their players speedily threw up their hands and said they were stonewalled by the King County sheriff in Washington. They said they didnt have enough information, and brushed off Browns domestic violence with a one-game suspension that the kicker huffed about in a statement, saying: I dont agree with it .~ ATAGEND Make no mistake, when their $13 bn in revenue is threatened, the NFL can dig up anything they want about almost anybody. They had no trouble vetting the past of Bennet Omalu, the doctor who first connected football head trauma to the degenerative brain condition CTE. They even found The Deflator. But when it comes to the more serious and uncomfortable issue of domestic violence, they become bumbling gumshoes incapable of locating critical evidence, even when its delivered to their front doorway .~ ATAGEND Back in 2014, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell went soft on Ravens running back Ray Rice because in part because he said the league didnt have the damning video evidence of Rice striking his wife in a hotel elevator and yet it turned out that videotape had been sitting in the league office for weeks.

Only now that John Urquhart, the King County sheriff, has constructed details of Bowns abuse public including written admissions of his remorse and the narrative is blowing up are the Giant and the NFL reacting. The squad left for this weekends game in London without Brown, and rapidly signed Robbie Gould to replace him. The NFL said they will re-open their investigation into Brown. A harsher penalty is certainly come fast. I have physically, mentally and verbally been a repulsive human, documents show Brown wrote in a periodical back in 2013. I have abused my wife. This should be all the evidence they need.

For all their might, the NFL has never figured out how to punish giant all those people who reached females. Sports leagues struggle with domestic issues, almost always dedicating the benefit of doubt to their players rather than dig into the untidiness. Women have long been portrayed to them as an evil needs to be addressed suspiciously. Even before the descriptions of the NFL rookie symposium, where players were told theres a business in taking advantage of guys like us were made public, a perception that spouses and girlfriends will drain them of their money was being fed to players. Molly Brown told police that her ex-husband had called her a golddigger and accused her of get pregnant on purpose. Its not hard to see where that notion was born.

After the Rice incident, the NFL said they were going to be serious about domestic violence. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a new policy in which players who physically or sexually assault females would be given a six-game suspension. We do stand for important values and we can project those values in ways that have positive impact beyond professional football, Goodell said in introducing the policy. But in Browns, instance the league once again cowered, concealing behind a lame excuse that the Urquharts office would not release information about Brown. On Thursday, Deadspin proved that damning documents about Browns divorce were easy to obtain .~ ATAGEND The league that can find anything they want on anyone was curiously passive in yet another domestic abuse case.

One of the NFLs biggest problems is they are run by too many attorneys. They operate in a defensive huddle, constructing shields against potential litigation instead of using common sense. Goodell is right: the league is supposed to stand for important values. They have no trouble falling an iron fist on the wrong colouring shoes, touchdown dances, and the softening of footballs for a better grip, but flees the most gut-wrenching cases of human abuse. They can keep writing new policies and roll them out for public relations impact, but until they change a culture where women are cast as thieves and domestic abuse is seen as an untidy legal entanglement, those documents will be worthless.

The fact Josh Brown kicked at all for the Giant this year shows the NFL still has a long way to go to get it right on domestic abuse.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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