Angelo claims domestic violence incidents were covered up

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At a time when the NFL remains embroiled in controversy over whether and to what extent the Ravens and the league office tried to cover up a domestic violence incident involving Ray Rice, a former General Manager claims that cover ups were the norm.  And the team for which he worked obviously denies that.

Former Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo tells Josh Peter of USA Today that NFL teams did not impose discipline after “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents.

“I made a mistake,” Angelo said.  “I was human.  I was part of it.  I’m not proud of it.”

A mistake would be one cover up.  Multiple cover ups reflect a pattern of deliberate wrongdoing.  Angelo admits he engaged in that behavior.  He contends other teams did, too.

Angelo also explained the approach that the Bears used when a player was accused of domestic violence.  It consisted of one basic inquiry.

“OK, is everybody OK?” Angelo said.  “Yeah.  How are they doing?  Good.  And then we’d just move on.  We’d move on. . . .

“We knew it was wrong,” Angelo added.  “For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over.  I’m no psychiatrist, so I can’t really get into what that part of it is.  I’m just telling you how I was.  I’ve got to look at myself first.  And I was part of that, but I didn’t stand alone.”

The Bears issued a statement disputing Angelo’s claims.

“We were surprised by Jerry’s comments and do not know what he is referring to,” the Bears said.

In contrast, former Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson told USA Today that he’s aware of domestic violence incidents that did not result in punishment.

Angelo’s contention raises plenty of questions.  Did team security intervene before police were called?  Did teams actively attempt to persuade the victims in such cases to not call the police?  Were police aware of the situation, and in any way complicit in the cover ups?

Angelo explained that he kept the situations quiet because he knew that discipline issued by the league against the players involved would have created a competitive disadvantage.  His contention should prompt a full and complete investigation into whether and to what extent the Bears and other teams engaged in the behavior on which Angelo has blown the whistle.  Allegations like Angelo’s can’t be ignored in the same way he claims the domestic violence incidents were.

Angelo has been out of the NFL for nearly three years.  He has tried to get back in, most recently with the Jets in 2013.  The only thing that’s certain about his decision to come clean is that it’ll now be even harder for him to secure employment with an NFL team.

Especially if he’s in any way exaggerating or embellishing the notion that “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents were covered up.

64 responses to “Angelo claims domestic violence incidents were covered up

  1. That makes no sense? How would the team find out but not the police?

    Player’s wife: I can’t believe you just hit me. I’m going to call your team executives.

  2. I don’t doubt him at all. I remember hearing for years about case of domestic violence in the NFL and nothing really happened until the Ray Rice video came out. That video single handedly changed the culture of the NFL surrounding this issue. If there was no video it would still only be a two week suspension. I guess that video coming out has a silver lining to it after all in that it forever changed the way the NFL views this crime.

  3. I think it’s safe to say Angelo’s already dim prospects of returning to the NFL have just turned to zero.

  4. Of course it gets covered up, and pushed away. And if charges don’t occur, the teams acted like nothing happened. I am waiting for someone to ask the Ravens a question such as, “Knowing what you know now, and how you failed at handling the Ray Rice incident, do you want to go back and ask any questions of Terrell Suggs about his beating his wife and pouring bleach on her?”
    And of course that is just one or many many incidents these owners, the league, and the players let disappear just because either the woman refused to cooperate (which is common of a battered woman) or because police were persuaded not to charge a famous person.

  5. Why do people keep giving this clown a platform? The Bears have spent 3 years trying to clean up the mess he made of their roster and still haven’t gotten it all right. Angelo has zero credibility on pretty much anything.

  6. It’s not a cover up if the police were involved and no charges were laid and no convictions occurred. The teams should have introduced their own punishment, but no conviction, no punishment was the standard. That isn’t a cover up, it’s how they all openly handled these situations.

    It is a cover up if the team helped the player avoid police involvement, but I really doubt that, as if the police weren’t involved I doubt the players would even tell the team at all.

  7. Somehow I’m feeling that this whole domestic violence issue may be the beginning of the end of the sport that I enjoy the most. Possibly a correlation between PEDs, HGH and the increased incidents of violence? Things that make you go “hmmmm”?

  8. This guy has some motive and it isn’t positive for anyone but himself.

    Even if true, the teams have no legal responsibility to punish those players nor does the league. You would hope that they would – however with no charges it is kind of hard to justify.

    If you don’t believe me, check out all of the crap that the league is still hearing about suspending Ben R from the Steelers.

  9. “Innocent until proven guilty” used to be the standard in the NFL. Now it’s “innocent until you tarnish the NFL’s reputation in the media.”

    Does make sense; the NFL should hold a higher standard than the law for their players. Almost all employers do.

  10. What’s the reason for the interview? To show the world he was a lousy G.M. and then tell them he is a lousy person? Ok. Mission accomplished move on.

  11. It’s not a cover up if the police were involved and no charges were laid and no convictions occurred. The teams should have introduced their own punishment, but no conviction, no punishment was the standard. That isn’t a cover up, it’s how they all openly handled these situations.

    It is a cover up if the team helped the player avoid police involvement, but I really doubt that, as if the police weren’t involved I doubt the players would even tell the team at all.
    I think he’s talking about incidents that the media never discovered because teams and law enforcement both chose to look the other way.

  12. “nyyjetsknicks says:Oct 10, 2014 7:56 AM

    That makes no sense? How would the team find out but not the police”

    Good point. Unless we’re talking about sometimes the police help cover it up.

  13. Its hard to believe that if there are “hundreds and hundreds” of situations as Amgelo suggests, this is the first anyone outside the NFL/32 teams has heard about it…..someone would have opened his/her mouth before long this

  14. If you have half a brain you will know that the Ravens brass and the NFL tried to cover up this whole Ray R thing, no question cover ups have been the norm in the NFL….

  15. How many people have been suspended by GE or Monsanto after domestic violence charges? How about the US Army? How come only the NFL gets singled out?

  16. This is not surpring to say the least . With that said I dont know what Angelo would gain or get from this addmission from twenty years ago. My guess is he has a ax to gring with Ditka as I think I just heard him screaming………

  17. And this is different than other sports leagues how? MLB has never suspended a player for domestic violence. I understand that 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but why is it the NFL that is getting all of the flack here?

  18. It seems unlikely that he would know about hundreds and hundreds, whatever that means. He’s probably extrapolating based upon how many incidents he feels he has knowledge of and then multiplying that by 32 to figure that there are likely hundreds of incidents out there that haven’t been publicly known. He probably isn’t making it up if he is so clear to admit that he was a part of the problem. Maybe he won’t ever get back to the NFL but at least he is trying to show transparency and be honest about something that he feels is right to come clean about, and there’s something positive to gain from speaking up about it so that hopefully others in the future don’t make the same mistakes that he has made. That’s a good thing.

  19. Let it go. His comments are obvious to anyone who’s followed the NFL for past 20 years.

    what was t sizzle’s punishment for pouring bleach on his wife? correct.


  20. So this guy particpates in the shady ebhavior in order to maintain his 6-7 figure income. But once he’s sure he is out and can no longer make the big money, he suddenly grows a conscience and drops a huge headache on everyone he left behind. Stand-up guy. Let’s all celebrate the whistle blower….

  21. Not until the police were forced to arrest (22 years or so, ago) did everyone start to see the light.

    It’s finally catching up to the wealthy, famous and privileged people of the world…

  22. I would be curious as to how many allegations where were compared to convictions. An d is it an employers responsibility to persecute an employee for legal misdeeds? I doubt many people would lose their mode of income merely for an accusation (innocent until proven guilty), a conviction is something entirely different. We all know players are accused to father children, extortion from family, friends, and women. We also all know the attitude of entitlement and “Above the law” mentality some of these players exhibit. The truth will never come out. You can dig and investigate. But no matter the industry people will protect their livelihood over protecting “the shield” from a bunch of goofs who break the law on their time off. Employers can’t babysit adults 100% of the day. 365 days of the year.

  23. When DeSean Jackson left the Eagles the beat reporters joked that the head of security would be happy. One can only guess that indicates he was cleaning up DeSean’s messes.

    This is just an example. Seemingly every team employs a Ray Donovan-type fixer to make DUI’s, DV & other issues go away.

    The league & teams acting like these issues are new are just in delusional denial & flat out lying.

  24. It’s always been about money and power with the NFL, the ultimate good old boys club…there are gentlemen among owners and there are ruthlessly ambitious others.

    Millions of dollars + lots of available time + good looking athletes + lots of testosterone + lack of maturity/responsibility and a certain amount of trouble is inevitable.

    It’s a shame that it casts a similar reputation on the truly responsible athletes in the league who behave exceedingly well.

    Owners know they’re one Saturday evening away from a PR nightmare every week of the year.

  25. Even if this is only half true, do any of us actually believe anything will come of this? The NFL isn’t called Teflon for no reason. The NFL will pretend to care, the media will get richer making up crap and we still watch the games.

  26. Sounds to me like quite a few of the commenters here doubt Angelo’s words. Why? I hope it’s not because you think domestic violence is no big deal. Because, based on some of the responses to the Ray Rice indicent, obviously a lot of people don’t think it’s a big deal. How sad.

  27. peymax1693 says:Oct 10, 2014 8:41 AM

    It’s not a cover up if the police were involved and no charges were laid and no convictions occurred. The teams should have introduced their own punishment, but no conviction, no punishment was the standard. That isn’t a cover up, it’s how they all openly handled these situations.

    It is a cover up if the team helped the player avoid police involvement, but I really doubt that, as if the police weren’t involved I doubt the players would even tell the team at all.
    I think he’s talking about incidents that the media never discovered because teams and law enforcement both chose to look the other way.


    Definitely possible. If law enforcement looked the other way, that hopefully was done for some legal reason. That would leave the media with nothing to find out about. The team wouldn’t call out a player to the media that wasn’t charged. The team may have had a moral obligation they weren’t living up to, but no legal obligation if the player wasn’t charged. They probably didn’t even need to inform the NFL.

    If law enformcement chose to look the other way because of the influence of the NFL, then that’s a huge cover up.

  28. How do you know local LE didn’t contact the team? I’m sure there’s a protocol about this sort of thing, as most if not all NFL teams have FBI or LE as part of their security detail, and the NFL employs former CIA and FBI. Damage control. Angelo has no reason to lie about it, unless he has an axe to grind with Goodell, which I doubt. I’m sure he doesn’t need the money. Pretty sad when Angelo comes out, and he’s the bad guy, instead of the rampant abuse that some of these players committed. We all know this stuff was under reported and hidden, so blame the guy who calls it out. Good for Jerry. This stuff should not be tolerated.

  29. Wait, who exactly is Jerry Angelo Whistle blowing on? wasnt he the person in charge of personnel decisions?

  30. Despite anyone’s feeling about Angelo, he is essentially right.

    In the 90’s D/V cases would even be reported and were still not acted upon (as far as the NFL was concerned).

    Two words:
    Warren Moon

  31. How could anyone be surprised by this??
    Is he embellishing a bit yeah probably so but I’m pretty sure he’s being truthful that it has happened for years .
    These guys are football players who play a game that’s based on aggression so I highly doubt that they’re able to completely shut it off when they get home ,I’m not saying all I’m saying a good number of them now the people that can’t grasp reality or read properly will write that I said everyone on earth blah blah blah.
    Just look at the number reported in the last year it’s staggering and how many weren’t reported same amount ,double?
    Rice married the woman he dropped like a sack of potatoes so yeah MANY don’t get reported.

  32. “For whatever reason, the claimed voluminous wrong-doing “got glossed?” That’s cute, Jerry. I’m no “psychiatrist,” but I think it’s called the G&GRP: greedy & gutless rationalization plan, but you already knew as much. Only the whole truth shall set you free, Angelo.

    My question for Jere: Whose payroll you on now?

    Next up: NFLPA & DeMaurice Smith, or are they off limits?

  33. There was an article from TMZ outlining 56 cases of DV charges since Roger has been the commish. Only 4 resulted in going the distance and judgements made. Some of the lesser skilled players were flat out cut by their teams. Other more talented players were not disciplined at all. The NFL is big money. Big money allows “settlements”. Charges are dropped due to the victim not pursuing punishment of the aggressor. Its the world we live in.

  34. Take off the tin-foil hat, Mike. He said they ignored the behavior and you morphed that into questions about actively trying to hide the events from the police/media. What he described is not a cover-up. It’s not even close.

  35. Well, if the Bears are investigated by the NFL, they may lose a draft pick (s).

    Because a fmr gm is bitter.

  36. This comes as no surprise at all if proven true. I doubt if this practice was limited to just the Chicago Bears. It fits right in with their ‘Defend the Shield’ The NFL has a lot of explaining to do. I hope they don’t try the ‘We Had A Disk Crash” ploy.

  37. Moons wife was assaulting him with a fry pan. So he grabbed her neck to stop her. She called police. That was a bad situation.

    He must had done something really bad to get hit with a fry pan. They hurt.

  38. One thing all you NFL defenders are missing , past players including Chicago players are backing up this guys story, explain that to me !!!!!! As the plot thickens the NFL goes further into the toilet !!!!!! The whole NFL organization owners, players, and anyone associated with the NFL including all sponsors are a bunch of MORONS !!!!!! I for one am totally boycotting anything NFL related, for all that’s worth, but at least I’m taking a stand for something I truly believe in !!!!!!! The NFL is nothing but a money pit for the greedy = Owners,Sponsors, and Players !!!!!!!

  39. North Dallas Forty again and again . . . it’s been around for years and gets glossed over because of the money involved.

  40. It’s not uncommon for teams to have a point of contact for their players for any “Oh Crap” moments. The person is an employee of the team and can be a former member of law enforcement, former member of local DA’s office, etc. It’s like hitting a panic button. That is how some teams (that are run better) find out about these things first.

  41. Domestic violence offenses are not new to the NFL. But this does not mean they were “covered up.” On the contrary, players in the past were routinely arrested and reported on in local news outlets, then given a stern warning and perhaps a fine or one game suspension by the team. That is certainly not to say it was OK. It was as wrong then as it is now. The difference is that now everything is on video. Any investigation into Angelo’s claims will simply reveal the NFL’s complicity, as they routinely allowed teams to handle these incidents internally. And no one can claim they were unaware, because their arrest records were public knowledge.

    Is it bad? Definitely. Is it a massive cover-up like concussions? By definition it’s not, since knowledge of these incidents was all freely available.

  42. Haha, I wouldn’t use the term “cover up” because when the police are involved it’s out of the teams hands but anyone who truly believes that NFL team executives in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s (before social media and cell phone camera/video) weren’t doing everything in their power to minimize the public exposure to their players many transgressions is naive at best. I have said it before and I will say it again if anyone thinks the current NFL is out of control in regards to off the field behavior by it’s player is either a causal fan or isn’t old enough to remember the league 20-30 years ago. The league was the Wild West in the 70’s and 80’s when cocaine and steriods were rampant. If social media and camera/video phones existed during Lawerence Taylor’s prime people would think the players of today are choir boys. The reality is despite the recent well earned bad press the league has a better handle on off the field behavior than it ever has in the past.

  43. The National Football League officials must be loving all of this bad publicity since they will get their fans to come out and watch their players on the field since the fans are not affected by the actions of a few rotten apples.

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