One lingering question regarding the NFL’s badly unforced error in the Josh Brown case arises from the league’s decision to impose discipline on the Giants kicker before the authorities in King County, Washington concluded their investigation.
Making that question more legitimate is the fact that Brown was arrested in May 2015, and that Brown’s one-game suspension was finalized more than 14 months later. With the media nor the public aware of the arrest, no one was clamoring for a resolution of a coldish case that could have grown a little colder, with no one objecting.
Well, not no one, according to the NFL. Per a source with knowledge of the league’s position on the matter, the league contends that it was receiving pressure from the NFL Players Association to finalize Brown’s case.
The NFLPA strongly disagrees with that characterization, according to a source with knowledge of the union’s approach to the case. Moreover, the NFLPA scoffs at the suggestion that pressure would have even mattered, given that the league has full control over the application of the Personal Conduct Policy, with unfettered ability to take as much time as the league believes it needs to take to reach a reliable, responsible, and complete decision.
In this case, the league waited 14 months to finalize the case. It could have waited another two months to obtain the final police report. It chose not to, opting for a half measure that has created a perception of gross incompetence at best and a bungled cover up at worst.
A true cover up would be incomprehensible in this case, given that it involved a kicker. But the perception exists, and the league’s efforts to control the damage have done little to alter that sense.