“He admitted to us he’d abused his wife in the past. What’s a little unclear is the extent of that.” So said New York Giants owner John Mara, on radio station 660 AM in New York City about his place kicker Josh Brown, after it was revealed that Brown had abused his ex-wife Molly repeatedly, more than 20 times, according her accounts to police and Brown’s own heretofore-concealed journal entries.
In a more just world, Mara would step down as president of the Giants and Commissioner Roger Goodell, who violated his own domestic-violence policy by suspending Josh Brown for just one game in August, would step down as commissioner. But this is the National Football League, and this is the real world. As King County, Washington, detective Robin Ostrum wrote in her follow-up report about the Brown case, “Molly was very upfront that in her experience, the NFL publicly says that they have a no tolerance policy on domestic violence, but the reality is that they do more crisis management and look to cover things up.”
This is not John Mara’s first rodeo. In 2014 he was appointed by Goodell, along with Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II, to help oversee the FBI “investigation” into the NFL’s handling of the infamous Ray Rice domestic-violence incident in 2014. They rubber-stamped the investigation that lightly chided, but effectively exonerated, their dear friend Roger’s handling of the case at a moment when the press and women’s organizations were calling for his job.
They were the perfect people for this task, as the dynastic Mara and Rooney names are peerless in the circles of NFL ownership. At the time Mara said, “Our goal here is to try to do whatever we can to eradicate domestic violence within our league and to take appropriate steps to punish those who are guilty of these violations. [NFL] commissioner [Roger Goodell] has made it a focus of his over the past few months, and it’s something that we’re all committed to doing.”
This patina of honor and respectability is why it largely escaped scrutiny this off-season when Mara, even with a one-game suspension looming for Brown’s domestic-violence arrest, offered him a two-year, $4 million deal and said, “I believe all the facts and circumstances, and we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him.”
The Josh Brown story on its own his horrifying. The newly released documents include a letter he wrote to family and friends in March of 2014 that reads, “I became an abuser and hurt Molly physically, emotionally and verbally…. I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man…. I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave.”