League, law enforcement are both to blame for lack of information in Josh Brown case

Getty Images

King County Sheriff John Urquhart blames the NFL for failing to work hard enough to obtain information about the Josh Brown case. The NFL blames the Sheriff’s office for failing to cooperate with its efforts.

The truth, as usual, lives somewhere in the middle, with both sides bearing blame for the NFL’s lack of information at the time Brown initially was suspended only one game. Ultimately, however, the league’s lack of appropriate diligence resulted in the discipline being imposed based on incomplete facts.

Allow me to explain. (As if you have a vote in the matter.)

The materials released by the King County Sheriff’s department earlier this week show that, indeed, the NFL tried to gather information about the case. A woman named Deborah Katz called Josh Brown’s ex-wife, Molly, on June 3, 2015. (The document says 2016, but that apparently is a typo, based on the full context of the report.)

“Molly told me that she had a very limited conversation with the woman and told her that she did not want to speak to her about any of this,” wrote Detective Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff’s office. “Molly told me that if it truly was someone from the NFL calling her, she would not trust them to really be having her or her children’s best interest in mind. Molly states that the NFL would only be looking to bury this whole incident and protect Josh. I told Molly that she was under no obligation to talk to this woman, or discuss with anyone that might try to contact her, the nature of the investigation. I told Molly if she wanted, I would call this woman and ask that she not call her anymore; Molly stated that she would appreciate if I would do that.”

Ostrum then explained in the report that she contacted Deborah Katz, who “started pressing me for information on this case.” Ostrum said she would not discuss the case, explaining it was an “open and active investigation.”

“Deborah tried to ingratiate herself to me by telling me she was once a Prosecutor for the State of New York,” Ostrum wrote. “I told Deborah that if that was true, then she should know that I would not discuss an open and active investigation with her. Deborah then asked me why I was saying there was an open and active investigation if the Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charges. I explained to Deborah that the Prosecutor’s Office had not ‘dropped’ the charges against Josh, they had simply chosen not to ‘file’ charges at this time, pending further investigation into this matter, which I was doing.

“I clearly informed Deborah that depending on the outcome of my investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office could still file charges against Josh. Deborah stated that she would call me back from time to time to check on the status of my investigation. Over the next several months I did receive several phone calls from Deborah that [resulted] in the same thing, me telling her I would not discuss my open and active investigation with her. When that didn’t seem to be getting the NFL anywhere, they had a Detective from another local law enforcement agency, who apparent also works as a representative for the NFL, call me and try to get information from me on my investigation. I told him the same thing that I had discussed with Deborah, that I would not share information with him, or discuss my open and active investigation with him.”

The NFL, as noted by senior V.P. of communications Natalie Ravitz on Twitter, also submitted a formal request for public records, apparently on May 26, 2015. The response, along with the public records, finally arrived on October 19, 2016. This explains why media reports regarding the details of the records appeared that same day; others had made a request for public records, and the requests we all filled on the same say.

While it’s clear that the NFL did something to find out more about the allegations and evidence against Brown, the NFL didn’t do enough. It’s one thing to call the same person over and over again and say, “Are you ready to talk about the case?” It’s quite another to employ creative, aggressive, and relentless measures to get around, through, above, or under a stone wall and get to the truth.

Whether it’s contacting the sheriff directly to explain the importance of obtaining more information about the case, pushing Brown, his agents, and his lawyers to pressure law enforcement to conclude the case and release the information, or ultimately threatening to place Brown on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list until the case is closed and the information is obtained, the NFL could have and should have, when faced with that stone wall, done something other than repeatedly bang its head against it.

Law enforcement bears blame as well, given that the investigation languished for more than 14 months, with the case finally closed on September 14, 2016. The timeline suggests that the case fell into a black hole and that, after the league suspended Brown for one game, media inquiries resulted in the case being dusted off and concluded.

That’s unacceptable from a law-enforcement perspective, but it’s hardly unprecedented. Still, the fact that media agitation caused the Sheriff’s office to complete its work proves that the NFL could have pushed the investigation to a conclusion much sooner, with the right approach.

And so the NFL imposed discipline on Josh Brown based solely on information provided by him, without the benefit of the final report or the various attachments that demonstrate a pattern of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Faced with the choice as to whether the outcome arose from incompetence or design, the safer bet is incompetence, because anyone with an ounce of common sense had to know that, eventually, the investigation would be concluded and a report would be generated for public consumption.

Apart from the league’s decision to suspend Josh Brown for one game based on incomplete facts, these details make the team’s decision to re-sign Brown earlier this year even more confusing. All the Giants had to say was, “Josh, if you don’t find a way to get that investigation finally closed so that the information can be reviewed, we just can’t hire you again.”

Again, this outcome suggests more incompetence than design. Unless, of course, the incompetence flowed not from the efforts to obtain the necessary information but from the belief that the team would be able to brush this matter under the rug and that no one would ever know or care about the truth, especially since it involves a kicker.

74 responses to “League, law enforcement are both to blame for lack of information in Josh Brown case

  1. its the exact same script as ray rice, goodell is a joke, he promised to not make the same mistake again.

    goodell doesnt have a miligram of integrity in his entire body but he sure does use the word integrity a lot

    hearing goodell talk about integrity on a weekly basis is like isis tellung us not to kill people

  2. If we already have a criminal justice system, why do we need the NFL to conduct criminal investigations? What’s next? Will we ask our judges to play football?

  3. I have the perfect solution. Tag team matchup, Josh Brown and Greg Hardy versus Rodger Goodall and John Mara in a ladders, tables and chairs match.

    Hopefully they’d beat the snot of out each other so much they’d disappear from the public eye for a long, long time.

  4. How about a contingent punishment – you’ll get 1 game immediately and should additional facts emerge from the ongoing investigation you will possible miss additional games and/or be terminated.

  5. Before Brown resigned with the Giants he told Mara he beat his wife. Mara admitted this. And still Mara resigned him. Mara does not care about his players beating women. There is no other conclusion.

  6. I wouldnt have a problem with the Giants standing for Brown if they had suspended him 6 games.

    Mara seems to make his own rules. Even with regard to “the extent” of the domestic violence, like is a slap 2 games, a punch 6 games.

    Mara has come off despicably. He has lived a privledged life where no one tells him what to do ever, and he made his decision here and feels like he did nothing wrong. Its mindblowing.

    Mara is clearly ok with some form of domestic violence. He believe Brown and continues to defend him.

    If you want to help Brown, fine, but suspended him like he should be.

  7. The Sheriff’s office said the NFL investigator just called them up asking for the case file and gave no credentials. They said no because for all they knew, he was just some random guy. This happened a couple more times with people saying they were with the NFL but offered no credentials. The sherriff’s office said not once did the NFL file a formal records request. Do with this information what you will.

  8. So law agencies should drop everything to prioritize an investigation for the NFL? And people should be more upset by the NFL’s representative trying to bully the Sheriff by saying she’s an ex-proscecutor, as well as having another detective reach out. I mean talk about conflict of interest. That detective needs to be investigated for using his authority inappropriately. I wonder how many times he’s done “favors” for others.

  9. I understand the logic behind it, but not a fan of the NFL dispensing punishment for non-football issues. Too arbitrary.

  10. “A woman named Deborah Katz called Josh Brown’s ex-wife, Molly, on June 3, 2015. (The document says 2016, but that apparently is a typo, based on the full context of the report.)”
    ——————————————————Councilor you’re making assumptions. The fact remains it was dated June 3, 2015. I would not be surprised at all to find 6/3/16 to be the correct date. That said I do agree that the truth is most likely a bit of both sides stories. That’s why sides embellish the truth, to leave doubt in the minds of those trying to determine what is and what isn’t. That’s the way the system works or maybe doesn’t work but it’s the one we deal with.

  11. That Article 46 thingy seems a bit flimsy when Goodell wants it to be, huh?

    What a lying piece of human excrement he is along with some of these owners who back domestic violence.

    Hey ROgie! Run some more of those commercials with Cris Carter all teary eyed, why don’t ya?

  12. “Mara does not care about his players beating women.”

    Absolutely!! Obviously any employer approves of all prior criminal actions by any of their employees!!

  13. “Again, this outcome suggests more incompetence than design.”
    ——————————————-

    maybe, but doesn’t repeatedly ignoring incompetence, as the league has done, suggest design?

    the league sometimes likes to look incompetent to avoid culpability.

  14. webofbelief says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:10 PM

    If we already have a criminal justice system, why do we need the NFL to conduct criminal investigations? What’s next? Will we ask our judges to play football?
    ——————————————–
    I agree with your premise. My guess, yes I’m guessing, is that with the slow pace of the criminal justice system and the way news breaks in the blink of an eye the public demands justice now! I can’t believe I’m saying this but the NFL finds itself between the rock and that hard place. If they wait on the legal system then the player plays and the public rages. If the NFL jumps the gun and punishes before all facts are in(They do have a history of this) they end up looking as they do now and as they did in the Ray Rice case. I don’t have the answer but maybe someone a lot smarter than me does and I hope they let us all in on it sooner rather than later.

  15. skmad2014 says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:14 PM

    How about a contingent punishment – you’ll get 1 game immediately and should additional facts emerge from the ongoing investigation you will possible miss additional games and/or be terminated.
    ————————-

    Just suspend the guy 6 games for being involved in domestic violence, like they are supposed to.

    The wrong thing to do, which the NFL always seems to do, is go soft on a player, and then have to get tough with them later.

  16. The report yesterday was that the NFL security had to move Molly Brown to another undisclosed hotel at the Pro Bowl due to this mess. Does anyone really believe the NFL didn’t know he was abusing her? They gave a one game suspension for something, right? Either you have a zero tolerance policy or not. Its really not that hard.

  17. exhelodrvr says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:25 PM
    “Mara does not care about his players beating women.”

    Absolutely!! Obviously any employer approves of all prior criminal actions by any of their employees!!
    ________________

    Indeed, since the Giants would be NOTHING without their irreplaceable 40 year old star kicker.

  18. If we already have a criminal justice system, why do we need the NFL to conduct criminal investigations?
    =============================

    You’re right. Let’s bring Aaron Hernandez back until his trial is done.

  19. There was absolutely nothing preventing the royal commissioner, Roger D.B. Goodell, from requiring Josh Brown to submit to an interview at anytime, and asking Brown everything that happened. We have learned through #Deflategate that Goodell’s powers are unlimited.

    There is no excuse for NFL not know everything that happened in this case, no matter what they requested from law enforcement.

    The Commish could have required Brown to turn over a copy of the entire case file to NFL. If Brown said no, the NFL could suspend Brown under power used to suspend Brady for failing to cooperate in the Ted Wells frame job.

    This is a whitewash for Roger’s buddy Mara.

  20. Another botched “investigation” by the NFL. The NFL obviously didn’t want to find anything and made a half-hearted try at an investigation. They again got caught and AGAIN have to do damage control. The NFL keeps blaming other agencies / law enforcement/ press / people etc. After a while it gets old blaming others for your incompetence. It’s ingrained in the culture of the NFL headquarters. Time to clean house started with Roger the Fraudster…..

  21. “Allow me to explain. (As if you have a vote in the matter.)”

    Of course I have a vote. I could hit that back arrow and read something else. The fact that your understanding of legal issues is (sadly) necessary and indispensable is besides the point.

  22. The NFL wants it both ways. They want a good public image of doing ‘something’, but they don’t want to do any of the work involved in it.

  23. Not saying this as a Giants homer but did you (MF) ever consider that brown DID tell the Giants he was treating for this mental condition and that the Giants also considered this information with what they had??

    The media is so quick to destroy someone’s career and bash the league without the sane amount of info that it criticizes against. You all fell for bountygate and deflategate the same way.

    Brown isnt rice or hardy. He’s not a denyer. He’s been treating and keeping journals. It’s a disease he admits. Why not push for helping him and using him as a GOOD example which ultimately helps bartered women instead of banishing him? Ending careers has helped battered NFL women after all hasn’t it?

  24. What was supposed to happen is… Brown gets charged/arrested. Brown immediately goes on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and stays there until it gets resolved. Then the NFL assigns the appropriate discipline.

    Instead, he was charged/arrested and it was covered up. Then, to get it over, they suspend him one game and hope no additional information comes out.

    Not ignorance, it was intentional disregard of the process they announced following the Rice debacle.

    Integrity….
    Protect the Shield…

    What a joke…

  25. The difference with the lack of enthusiasm they pursue a domestic violence investigation against the Giants and the all out war they waged against the Patriots because of PSI is simply remarkable.

  26. Everybody just needs to stay in their lane. Let the police handle criminal investigations. If the DA can get a conviction then the NFL can take the appropriate steps against a player once they have all the information in hand.

    It shouldn’t be up to the NFL to run their own concurrent investigation, nor should a player be denied the basic right of due process and the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.

  27. Sorry, but I put this solely at the feet of the NFL/NYG. This is not the first time a player is involved in a DV case.

    You already knew of at least 1 incident involving his ex-wife and children at an NFL sanctioned event.

    You knew there was an ongoing investigation and you have a bunch of lawyers that know details are not made public until the investigation is concluded.

    You already know from the Ray Rice case that once you discipline a player for a particular misconduct, you cannot penalize him again for it.

    And after knowing all of this, you still rushed to re-sign him and suspend him only for 1 game when you could as easily put him in the Commish exempt list, suspend him the 6 games you said you would, or used Article 46 to make him tell you what you wanted.

  28. The NFL should have waited for the conclusion of the investigation before imposing any punishment. Just because football season is starting doesn’t mean law enforcement is on a deadline.

    What if the Ezekiel Elliott investigation had dragged on? Should he have been suspended for 6 games just because he hadn’t yet been cleared?

    Telling players it’s up to them to prove their innocence is a terrible idea. It creates incentives for them to beat/bribe witnesses against them into compliance. It creates lots of leverage for blackmail.

    Florio, you need to take another stab at this after you’ve thought it over.

  29. League was too busy trying to determine if Tom Brady could have been “reasonably aware” that Josh Brown was an abuser! 4 more more games!

    Keep laughing Patriot haters, this proves that Goodell is just a puppet for Mara, sugarcoating domestic violence! Unreal! It won’t be long before its you team’s turn.

  30. blessedunliketherest says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:33 PM
    The report yesterday was that the NFL security had to move Molly Brown to another undisclosed hotel at the Pro Bowl due to this mess. Does anyone really believe the NFL didn’t know he was abusing her? They gave a one game suspension for something, right? Either you have a zero tolerance policy or not. Its really not that hard.

    ——–

    I’m pretty sure if that had been any of us average guys, we would have been tossed in jail for the night.

    So NFL Security protected Josh by moving Molly & kids instead of having him arrested.

  31. What really comes through is how nobody trusts the league front office anymore, whether it’s the police or even the victim herself. Equating these guys with Big Tobacco may have been an insult to Big Tobacco.

  32. leroyquimby says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:34 PM
    If we already have a criminal justice system, why do we need the NFL to conduct criminal investigations?
    =============================

    You’re right. Let’s bring Aaron Hernandez back until his trial is done.

    ——————————————————

    I agree we should let the criminal justice system work and not deal out (NFL style) punishment before the facts are in. Because otherwise we end up with extremely uneven punishments.

    Aaron Hernandez is in prison. His first trial is done.

  33. How many games would he have been suspended if he had “deflated” the ball a little (or was probably generally aware the holder did) before a FG attempt?

  34. If this had been a case involving an average (meaning non-NFL) family, it would have either dragged on forever or been dropped completely.

    So let me ask a couple questions (as if you have a vote in the matter).

    What exactly is the elevated standing of the NFL that they feel entitled to swifter resolution of cases involving their employees than any “normal” case in the system?

    Why do they attempt to subvert the confidentiality of legitimate law enforcement work, and then bungle their own efforts at running duplicate investigations?

    Why does the league cry “Foul!” when police enforce confidentiality – as they are REQUIRED to do?

    If it is the usual “class and privilege” argument, then it is the usual case of MUCH more privilege than class…

  35. The NFL is far more concerned with intimidating people than getting at any truth. Their private investigation firm is called “T&M Protection” which certainly doesn’t sound like a crack investigation unit but more like a security service. They spooked Brown’s wife so much she reported them to the police because she wasn’t even sure they were real.

  36. Bottom line: the NFL and owners do not care about ethics in any way, shape or form. They only care about PR. When something goes public, they go nuts. Before then, they don’t care.

    That goes for all owners, on all ethical issues.

  37. Roger to Mara. What should I do now.
    Mara. I’ll dump the guy, and you’ll get some credit.
    Roger. Good. Should I take any of your draft picks, knock your cap down, fine you.
    Mara. Nothing more than a fine, and make it a small one.
    Roger. Great, I love it when we protect the shield. Gotta go and find my other phone.

  38. The problem here isn’t Brown. People beat their spouses everyday, a NFL kicker getting punished isn’t going to change that. The problem is the NFL’s fake concern. Goodell’s lack of any consistency at all. This is the reason the NFL is losing viewers and I bet they lose more this weekend.

  39. IF the NFL knew that their request for information would eventually be fulfilled, why in the world did they give Brown a 1 game suspension at the outset? Why not wait until the full picture is revealed and then take the appropriate action? By suspending him and then trying to suspend him again, the NFL is just going to get sued again by the NFLPA for trying to punish a player twice for the same thing. Why didn’t they learn from the Rice and Peterson instances? It’s mind-numbingly stupid.

  40. So corrupt, I can’t take much more. WHAT is it going to take to oust that failure of a Commissioner? Having said that, it’s somewhat satisfying to see this episode of “As The Worm Turns” with Special Guest Star John Mara…

  41. It is a ridiculous argument that Law Enforcement must cater to the demands of private corporations. Law Enforcement is tasked with serving the community they are charged with protecting…not the Lucky Sperm Club of the Full 32.
    On a side note, I doubt law enforcement will be all too excited to work together with the NFL in the future given the league’s anti-police displays weekly.
    Way to go Roger. Everyone hates you…..cops, fans, players. Start saving your bloated paycheck, this one could be your last.

  42. “And so the NFL imposed discipline on Josh Brown based solely on information provided by him, without the benefit of the final report or the various attachments that demonstrate a pattern of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. ”

    You mean information he provided when he told Mara that he physically and mentally abused his wife! That information! Sure that is really ambivalent enough to make them unsure of his guilt.

  43. “While it’s clear that the NFL did something to find out more about the allegations and evidence against Brown, the NFL didn’t do enough.”
    ******************************

    Quite possibly.

    It’s also clear that, contrary to the Sheriff’s statement in the article posted earlier on pft, the NFL never identified itself and the Sheriff’s office had no reason to know the NFL was making inquiries. Maybe worth taking a short breather from the daily NFL/Goodell bashing to acknowledge that.

  44. Allow me to explain. (As if you have a vote in the matter.)

    I do have a vote as does everyone who posts here. Is this Pro Football Talk or The View? It may get to the point where we all walk away from this site as well as the NFL since neither entity seems interested in actual play. That goes for the NFL network, ESPN, CBS, NBC and FOX.

    We tune in for the game NOT marriage counseling even if we hate abusers of all stripes.

  45. skmad2014 says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:14 PM
    How about a contingent punishment – you’ll get 1 game immediately and should additional facts emerge from the ongoing investigation you will possible miss additional games and/or be terminated.
    ======================
    Why not simply wait until all the facts are available to hand down punishment? Seriously. It makes no bleeping sense to punish anybody without all of the facts. None.

  46. If an employer called up the police and provided their credentials and asked for information about an active investigation guess how far they’d get? Nowhere. The fact the NFL didn’t provide credentials is largely irrelevant. The NFL or any employer does not have the right to access information in an active investigation.

    The police have no obligation to do so. Regardless if Goodell was down their in person asking pretty please with sugar on top.

  47. imodan says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:30 PM
    I agree with your premise. My guess, yes I’m guessing, is that with the slow pace of the criminal justice system and the way news breaks in the blink of an eye the public demands justice now! I can’t believe I’m saying this but the NFL finds itself between the rock and that hard place. If they wait on the legal system then the player plays and the public rages. If the NFL jumps the gun and punishes before all facts are in(They do have a history of this) they end up looking as they do now and as they did in the Ray Rice case. I don’t have the answer but maybe someone a lot smarter than me does and I hope they let us all in on it sooner rather than later.
    ——————————————–
    I disagree. The NFL is capitulating to public opinion on matters of livelihood. Simply, the NFL should have enough backbone to stand up to pressure from the public and state no punishment is taking place until all the facts are known. Nobody is saying the punishment has to be in line with the legal system outcome. Only that the legal process should be complete prior to handing down Goodell’s brand of industrial justice.

  48. bkostela says:
    Oct 21, 2016 1:33 PM
    Indeed, since the Giants would be NOTHING without their irreplaceable 40 year old star kicker.
    _______________
    We’re about to find out.

  49. It shouldn’t be up to the NFL to run their own concurrent investigation, nor should a player be denied the basic right of due process and the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.
    ====================
    THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. law enforcement has no responsibility to be the NFL’s lap dog. they’re tasked with protecting the public by assisting the DA in prosecuting criminals.

    helping the NFL’s PR machine craft a narrative isn’t their duty.

  51. The NFL is an employer – NO law enforcement agency should be doing them favor with respect to an investigation.

    Now if the NFL wants to use it use its media presence to publically push urgency on an investigation – thats fine – but we all know the NFL doesnt want that.

  52. “The NFL got themselves into this mess when they claimed to be a leader in social responsibility instead of a professional sports league.”

    We as a society share a lot of the blame for that; that’s what we demand they do.

  53. The headline should read: media is to blame for leaking of private information in Brown case.

    Included in the 150+ pages of information that has been brought to light are pictures of Molly Brown’s “abuse”. Unfortunately, the pictures show no visible evidence of abuse. While Brown may not be an altar boy, this has all the symptoms of a dysfunctional marriage, with both parties being at fault.

    In other news, the Police have decided that there was no crime committed by Josh Brown. So naturally the media will be sharpening their pitchforks because as media, their opinion is the one that matters.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!