Jerry Reese doesn’t want to talk about Josh Brown, and who can blame him?
There really is nothing the New York Giants GM can say to justify the actions of he and his boss, John Mara, in choosing to sign the kicker to a two-year, $4 million deal, despite having been presented with a smoking gun in the case of Brown’s alleged abuse of his estranged wife three months before.
That smoking gun, of course, was the documentation that at the Pro Bowl in January, NFL security needed to remove Brown’s wife and their children from the league hotel and relocate them to a secure location for their own protection.
That incident,revealed in police documents acquired my multiple news outlets last week, should have been the end of Josh Brown’s Giants career right there. After that revelation,it was no longer possible for anyone in good conscience, even an NFL owner or its commissioner, to hide behind disclaimers like “allegations’’ or to point to the fact, always dubious in domestic violence cases, that charges had been dropped against the accused due to lack of cooperation by the victim.
NFL security, which is made up largely of retired cops, believed that Molly Brown and her children were in enough danger to move them off the premises.
And yet, the Giants still went ahead and signed Josh Brown to a two-year deal, a deal which as far as we know, he continues to collect on despite being placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List last week and eventually, and apparently reluctantly, being released by the Giants.
So of course Jerry Reese has nothing to say, because there is nothing he realistically could say to clean up the mess he and his boss have made here.
Last week, John Mara said on a radio interview, “I’m still comfortable with the decision” to re-sign Brown, which in the political parlance of the day seems like a clear case of doubling-down.
This in spite of the fact that he had indisputable evidence that Josh Brown was a domestic abuser courtesy of his own league’s security detail, or are to believe that the league would not have informed one of its teams that they had removed from the hotel the wife of a player on its roster for her own safety?
So much for the much perpetuated myth that the Giants are somehow a higher form of NFL life, intolerant of bad actors on their roster. That, of course, has been a joke for years — witness the presence on past Giants teams of Christian Peter, Lawrence Taylor, Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress, to name just a few – but this case seems to confirm that the Giants are no better or worse than their 31 cohorts.
Namely, if they like the ability of the player, they will do whatever they can to excuse the flaws in the man.
The question, of course, is what made Josh Brown so special? The Giants treated this guy as if he were a combination of Adam Vinatieri, Frank Gifford and Walter Payton squeezed into one pair of shoulder pads.
The truth is, he was a good NFL kicker but not worth the PR hit the club is taking, or the permanent scar on its reputation.
If anything, the long and messy divorce between Josh Brown and the New York Giants may be that rare case in which the NFL can learn something from Major League Baseball. And perhaps the less rare case where theGiants could stand to take a lesson from the Yankees and Mets.
Yes, we know professional football is now America’s Pastime, that all the cool kids prefer the NFL to MLB, and that the TV ratings for the World Series are embarrassing compared to the huge land masses that come to an annual halt to watch the Super Bowl.
But take a look at the way the Yankees handled the signing of Aroldis Chapman, who had been charged not only with physically assaulting his girlfriend but also with firing eight bullets into the wall of his garage in a post-argument rage.
To his credit,Yankees GM Brian Cashman never tried to convince anyone that Chapman was really a good guy, or that the Yankees were treating him as some sort of reclamation project. Cashman admitted that he was taking advantage of a situation in which a great player was suddenly available on the cheap, and that he and the team were willing to risk the consequences. It may not have been wholly admirable,but at least it was honest.
And when the Mets signed Jose Reyes, their normally reticent GM, Sandy Alderson, did not duck the questions about the allegations regarding Reyes. He faced them head-on, as did Reyes, who unlike Brown – or Chapman for that matter – expressed genuine remorse for his actions despite also never being formally charged.
And oh yeah, both Reyes and Chapman paid a price for their misdeeds, serving suspensions of 52- and30-games, respectively, from MLB.
Contrast that with the NFL’s wrist—slap of a one-game suspension for Brown, and Reese’s defensive belligerence when asked pertinent questions about a most legitimate issue?
But then again, what could he say? Everything that needed to be said was in the NFL’s report on Josh Brown from the Pro Bowl, a report the Giants chose to ignore.
That silence rendered meaningless anything Jerry Reese or John Mara could say now. By re-signing Josh Brown, they said it all.