New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Giants sign PK Gould to replace Brown
Embattled New York Giants kicker Josh Brown didn't travel with the team for Sunday's game in London, a decision related to the NFL's move to reopen an investigation into a domestic violence incident in May, 2015.
Robbie Gould joined the Giants in London for their game against the Rams. Gould will be playing in place of the beleaguered Brown.
Gould has been a free agent since Sept. 5 when he was surprisingly cut by the Chicago Bears. Gould was the Bears' all-time leading scorer and was with Chicago since 2005. He was released in favor of Connor Barth.
The Giants' new kicker flew to London Thursday night.
Friday, Brown was placed on the commissioner's exempt list and will be paid until the next decision is made on his status.
The NFL Players Association issued a statement Friday afternoon in response.
"The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses," the NFLPA statement reads. "The League office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency."
To hear ownership tell it, Brown might not be long for the team at all.
John Mara said Thursday in a radio interview with WFAN that the Giants are considering placing Brown on the commissioner's exempt list. Mara also said the Giants won't wait for the NFL to make a decision.
Mara said the Giants were aware of the abusive relationship, including the need for security to protect Brown's ex-wife from the kicker at the Pro Bowl.
"The whole thing bothered me," Mara told WFAN. "Everything we knew carried some weight and these things, you're never comfortable with these things and we were obviously disturbed. Based on what we knew, and particularly based on this young man's attempt to rehabilitate himself, which I believe he's still trying to do-he's made a good-faith effort to do that as far as I know over the last couple of years-we were comfortable with the decision to continue to employ him."
Mara said that Brown "admitted to us that he abused his wife in the past" but stressed that the Giants planned to gather additional information to determine the extent of the abuse.
"I think what's a little unclear is the extent of it, but what we've read about it is obviously disturbing and we think we need to gather some information before we make a final decision here. But we certainly had enough to make us believe that making him inactive this week is the right course of action."
Mara was asked if he felt hoodwinked by Brown during the team's information gathering process.
"No I do not. I think he's attempted to be honest with us. A lot of the information, the journal entries, you're reading about now is part of his therapy to try to rehabilitate himself. What he wrote down was brutally honest, I think, but none the less very disturbing. So we felt that it would be best that he not be with us this week."
As far as Brown's future with the team is concerned, Mara reiterated what was in the Giants' statement.
"I think it's too early to tell that," he said. "Right now we want to accumulate as much information as we can, and we'll make that determination at the appropriate time."
New information was released by the state of Washington earlier this week, prompting the Giants to decide that Brown won't play in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.
"In light of the news reports regarding the documents released by the State of Washington yesterday, we think it makes sense to review this newly disclosed information and to revisit this issue following our trip to London," the Giants said in a statement.
"The Giants do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence. Josh has acknowledged that he has issues in his life and has been working on these issues through therapy and counseling for a long period of time.
"We remain supportive of Josh and his efforts."
The NFL decided to reopen its investigation into Brown in light of the release of additional documents regarding his 2015 domestic violence arrest.
Brown admitted to domestic violence in letters, emails and a journal, according to police documents released on Wednesday.
"I have abused by wife," Brown wrote in one of his journal entries obtained as part of the investigation stemming from his arrest on May 22, 2015. The documents were part of the final case file by King County (Wash.) Sheriff's Office for Brown, who was charged with assault in the fourth degree/domestic violence after an incident with his ex-wife.
Brown's ex-wife told police that he had been physically violent with her on more than 20 instances over the past several years.
In a 2013 "Contract for Change," signed by Brown, his then-wife Molly Brown and counselor Jerry Price, the kicker admitted that he had physically, verbally and emotionally abused his then-wife.
Brown admitted that he "had been a liar for most of my life," according to the police documents released Wednesday.
The 37-year old also claimed to have been abusive to women dating back to when he was 7, after being molested as a young boy.
"I objectified women and never really worried about the pain and hurt I caused them," Brown wrote in an email.
The NFL released the following statement on Thursday:
"NFL investigators made repeated attempts both orally and in writing to obtain any and all evidence and relevant information in this case from the King County Sheriff's Office. Each of those requests was denied and the Sheriff's Office declined to provide any of the requested information, which ultimately limited our ability to fully investigate this matter. We concluded our own investigation, more than a year after the initial incident, based on the facts and evidence available to us at the time and after making exhaustive attempts to obtain information in a timely fashion. It is unfortunate that we did not have the benefit or knowledge of these materials at the time.
"In light of the release of these documents yesterday, we will thoroughly review the additional information and determine next steps in the context of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. We will not be making any comments on potential discipline until that time."
The Giants re-signed Brown during the offseason to a two-year, $4 million deal.
Mara said the team knew about Brown's incident which resulted in the arrest after conducting its own due diligence.
"When we made the decision to re-sign Josh back in 2015, we were certainly aware of the arrest and the allegations of that arrest," Mara said. "Based on the facts and circumstances we were aware of at that time, we were comfortable with re-signing him."
Brown received a one-game suspension by the NFL for a May 2015 incident in which he was arrested for allegedly grabbing the wrist of his now ex-wife in a heated dispute at a home the couple shared in Woodinville, Wash.
The NFL's domestic violence policy has a six-game baseline for first offenses, but allows for different lengths of punishment should mitigating circumstances allow.
The Giants have done everything possible to keep to their normal schedule this week as they prepare for their road game against the Los Angeles Rams.
However, this weekend's game isn't their typical road trip. On Thursday night, the Giants will be embarking on a six-plus hour flight east across the Atlantic Ocean to London, where the Rams have already settled in for the International Series game on Sunday.
The long flight combined with the change in time zone is sure to present some challenges to the Giants, whose head coach Ben McAdoo chose not to head to London early because, as he put it, "We wanted to get our heavy lifting done early."
Some of the issues include getting proper rest on the plane, something that is sure to be a challenge even if players are treated to sleeper seats; and how the players, particularly those who are nursing lower-body injuries, respond to the change of altitude.
And then there is the jet lag, which even in a best-case scenario where if a player gets some rest on the flight, resetting his biological clock in terms of meals and rest might be easier for some than others.
"Every guy is different," said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. "You don't really know how your body is going to react, whether you get jet lagged or what."
Receiver Victor Cruz, who has made several trips to Europe, admits that adjusting is going to be a challenge.
"Oh man, it took me about two days to really get acclimated and adjusted to the time, mainly because that six hours is a lot of time to make up," he said.
"Twelve midnight and you are wide awake or it is 12 in the afternoon and you are sleepy, so it is definitely something that is different for us and it will be different for us."
Cruz believes the key is for each player to prepare himself accordingly.
"I think that going to sleep on that plane is going to be one of the biggest things for us because when we land it is going to essentially be 8:30 in the morning," he said.
"So you want to land and feel like you are just waking up from going to bed the night before and then hopefully you can kind of play not a lot of catch-up, but play catch-up from there, which is easier to do than landing at 4:00 p.m. or something weird like that and trying to play it that way."
SERIES HISTORY: 41st regular-season meeting. Rams lead series, 25-15. The Giants have won the last six meetings, their last loss to the Rams coming in 2001 on a 15-14 decision in a game played in St. Louis. The two teams have met twice in the postseason; that series is tied 1-1.