NFL defends handling of Josh Brown domestic abuse case

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The National Football League on Friday defended its handling of a domestic violence case against Josh Brown, but temporarily barred the New York Giants kicker from games and practices after newly released documents showed his then-wife accused him of a years-long pattern of physical and emotional abuse.

The NFL suspended Brown in August for one game following his arrest in May 2015, when his then-wife, Molly, told police he grabbed her by the wrist during a heated argument at their home in Woodinville, Washington.

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But in documents the King County Sheriff's Office released on Wednesday, Molly Brown said the Giants player had been physically abusive toward her more than 20 times. The documents also included journals and written statements by Brown in which he admits to being abusive.

The NFL's response to the case is a test of its tougher stance on domestic abuse and players' personal conduct more broadly after the league admitted in 2014 to mishandling domestic violence allegations, including the famous case against Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.

Facing a crisis in America's most popular sports league, a chastened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell assured the American public that the new policy would be comprehensive and tough.

After the new documents on the Brown case surfaced, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Thursday that the league would "thoroughly review" the new information.

And on Friday, the NFL placed Brown on the Commissioner Exempt list, which forbids him from attending practices and games on a temporary basis while the league investigates the case.

33 PHOTOS
NFL Power Rankings: Week 7
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NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

32. Browns (0-6)
Last Week: 32

Almost! Cleveland came up just shy of their first win of the season in Tennessee, but to no avail, and in the cellar they remain.

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

31. Bears (1-5)
Last Week: 28

The Bears faced a vulnerable opponent in Jacksonville at Solider Field on Sunday, and squandered a chance at their second win of the year. They'll now face the Packers, at Lambeau, on short rest. Not a great combination.

(Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

30. 49ers (1-5)
Last Week: 29

Colin Kaepernick didn't play badly under center, but the results were still the same in Week 6. With a bad quarterback, or with a slightly-less-bad quarterback, the 49ers still don't stand much of a chance.

(Photo by Michael Adamucci/Getty Images)

29. Jets (1-5)
Last Week: 25

One more loss will match their total from all of last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick's five touchdowns and 11 interceptions have fans clamoring for a replacement -- though Todd Bowles is sticking with his $12 million quarterback for now.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

28. Dolphins (2-4)
Last Week: 30

After weeks of futility, the Dolphins easily took care of business against the Steelers -- albeit without Ben Roethlisberger for some of the game. Next week, they'll host the hottest team in the division -- the Buffalo Bills.

(Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

27. Panthers (1-5)
Last Week: 23

The Super Bowl hangover is real. After winning the NFC last year, the Panthers are 1-5 and coming off a loss to the Saints. Their playoff hopes are already all but gone -- they'll have a bye week to figure things out before a Week 8 matchup against Arizona.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

26. Colts (2-4)
Last Week: 18

Six weeks in, it's clear that the Colts are a mess. They blew a chance to hop right back in the AFC South race with a Sunday night win, but with an overtime loss to Houston, it'll take a massive turnaround to get back into the thick of things.

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

25. Saints (2-3)
Last Week: 27

New Orleans became the latest team to knock off the Panthers, but at this point, that's not necessarily all that impressive. The Saints managed to outscore their horrid defense, which is how they'll have to win all their games this season.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

24. Titans (3-3)
Last Week: 22

The Titans dropped two spots despite a win in Week 6, but that kind of thing happens when you play the Browns. They're not quite Browns-bad, thankfully. But they're still pretty bad.

(Photo by Greg McWilliams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

23. Chargers (2-4)
Last Week: 31

The Chargers showed up on Thursday night, topping Denver at home in an impressive win. This team, even despite injuries, seems to have more talent than their record would suggest -- but another tough test awaits next week in Atlanta.

(Photo by Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

22. Jaguars (2-3)
Last Week: 26

Jacksonville is slowly recovering from their slow start, winning their second consecutive game. In a Week 7 battle between teams with the most offseason hype, the Jags host Oakland -- but at 4-2, they're no easy opponent.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

21. Rams (3-3)
Last Week: 19

Case Keenum had maybe the best game of his career, but it still wasn't enough for Los Angeles to top Detroit. Keenum's great outing, though, will keep Jared Goff on the sidelines for at least a few more weeks.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

20. Buccaneers (2-3)
Last Week: 21

Coming off its bye, Tampa has a good break, playing the 49ers in Week 7.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

19. Ravens (3-3)
Last Week: 15

Remember when Baltimore was 3-0? They've now dropped three straight, but a matchup against the lowly Jets should help them get back on track.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

18. Lions (3-3)
Last Week: 20

Finally, in Week 6, Golden Tate showed up as the top receiver Detroit expected him to be when Calvin Johnson retired over the offseason. Tate's eight catches for 165 yards and a touchdown helped power the Lions to a win on Sunday, and if he can prove to be a consistent contributor, Detroit's future may be bright.

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

17. Bengals (2-4)
Last Week: 16

Cincy had the misfortune of facing the Patriots in Foxboro in Week 6, but some good karma was tossed its way with a home game against the Browns this week. Some things just work themselves out.

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

16. Giants (3-3)
Last Week: 24

The Giants' strange season continued with a fairly impressive win against Baltimore -- driven mostly by Odell Beckham's first monster game of the season. With Dallas and Washington seeming to hit their stride, New York will need to string together a few more wins.

(Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

15. Cardinals (3-3)
Last Week: 17

Against a slumping Jets team, the Cardinals came out and did exactly what they were supposed to on Monday night, beating up on New York 28-3. Carson Palmer suffered a hamstring tweak, which will be important to monitor heading into a Week 7 matchup against the Seahawks.

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

14. Raiders (4-2)
Last Week: 9

Oakland couldn't get much of anything going against Kansas City's defense in Week 6, but carries a winning record into a matchup against Jacksonville on Sunday.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

13. Eagles (3-2)
Last Week: 10

The Wentz Wagon may be loosing some bandwagoners after Philly lost its second straight game. A divisional loss against Washington hurts, but a tilt against the Vikings next week could be even more punishing.

(Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

12. Redskins (4-2)
Last Week: 14

Washington won its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, knocking off an Eagles team that seems to have peaked a bit too early.

(Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

11. Texans (4-2)
Last Week: 12

Houston prevailed on Sunday night in a game that took an overtime period to decide, pummeling Indianapolis to dead-last in the division. They'll need more consistency moving forward, but a Week 7 matchup with Denver on MNF won't be easy.

(AP Photo/George Bridges)

10. Bills (4-2)
Last Week: 13

After an 0-2 start, the Bills are now one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and, barring a meltdown this week, await a Week 8 game against New England with major divisional implications.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

9. Chiefs (3-2)
Last Week: 11

Efficient play from Alex Smith and solid rushing from Spencer Ware have highlighted Kansas City's success this season. Against New Orleans' brutal defense next week, they shouldn't have a problem continuing this trend.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

8. Packers (3-2)
Last Week: 5

It's not time to panic, but Aaron Rodgers' recent decline is at least a bit concerning for Green Bay. A game against the Bears should help him get back on track, but if not, there may be a problem.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

7. Falcons (4-2)
Last Week: 6

Atlanta finally came back down to earth with a Week 6 loss to Seattle, but on the road, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

6. Steelers (4-2)
Last Week: 4

We're not quite sure what happened in Week 6 against Miami, but the Steelers came out flat and got embarrassed. They'll be without Ben Roethlisberger for at least a few weeks, which makes their future even murkier.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

5. Broncos (4-2)
Last Week: 3

They suffered a bad loss to San Diego on Thursday night, but with a longer week of practice, hosting the Texans on Monday night, they should be able to get back on track at Mile High.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

4. Cowboys (5-1)
Last Week: 8

It looks like this is really happening. Led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are one of the best teams in football. And with the way things are going, there's just no way Jerry Jones can re-insert Tony Romo, whenever it is he's ready to return.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

3. Seahawks (4-1)
Last Week: 7

It was their toughest matchup of the season thus far, and Seattle passed the test, winning a tough one against Atlanta. Matt Ryan threw for 335 yards, but Russell Wilson's 25-for-37 passing clip led the Seahawks to their fourth win of the year, setting up for a primetime game in Arizona this week.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

2. Vikings (5-0)
Last Week: 2

After a bye week, Sam Bradford and the Vikings will travel to Philadelphia, where the quarterback will likely have a chip on his shoulder returning to his old stomping grounds.

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

1. Patriots (5-1)
Last Week: 1

New England remains on top after a convincing win over Cincinnati, and they get a big break heading into Week 7, with Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines following surgery on his meniscus.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Social media users and bloggers have accused the league of enforcing a suspension that was too lenient given the scope of the accusations and said the league should have investigated the Brown case more carefully.

NFL spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said on Twitter on Friday, however, that "four different individuals working for the NFL" contacted the King County police seeking information during the league's investigation and were denied access to the evidence.

King County police Sergeant Cindy West told Reuters the sheriff's office does not release case details to businesses or private citizens while they are still open and that the detective closed "her end of the case."

"The detective determined that it was unlikely the victim would testify," West told Reuters. "Without her testimony there's no way we could go to trial."

The couple has since divorced, according to media reports.

Brown's agent did not immediately return a call requesting comment and a spokeswoman for the NFL Players Association declined a request for comment.

The Giants said the kicker did not travel with the team for its Sunday game against the Los Angeles Rams in London and that the team said it would "revisit this issue" following the trip.

33 PHOTOS
The highest-paid player on all 32 NFL teams 2016
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The highest-paid player on all 32 NFL teams 2016

32. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns — $10,200,000

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $10.1 million salary and $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: The Browns have not had a player making more than $11 million in a season since 2013.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

31. Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans — $10,211,933

Position: Right tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $450,000 salary and a $9.8 million signing bonus.

One thing to know: Conklin, a rookie, is the only player on the roster making more than $7.5 million this season. 

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

30. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals — $10,700,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $10.5 million salary and a $200,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Dalton will not make more than $13.7 million in a season until 2019 when his earnings will jump to $16.0 million.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

29. Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — $12,500,000

Position: Defensive tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary and $6.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: The last time McCoy was not the highest-paid player on the Bucs was 2013 when the honor went to Darelle Revis.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

28. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks — $12,569,000

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $12.6 million salary

One thing to know: Russell Wilson is a close second at $12.3 million.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

27. Kelechi Osemele, Oakland Raiders — $13,200,000

Position: Guard

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.7 million salary and $6.5 million in bonuses.

One thing to know: Osemele signed a 5-year, $58.5 million contract with the Raiders as a free agent this past offseason. His earnings will drop next season to $6.7 million.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

26. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins — $13,500,000

Position: Defensive tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $3.5 million salary, $10.0 million signing.

One thing to know: Suh takes up just $12.6 million of the team's salary cap space this season. However, that number jumps to $19.1 million next season and $26.1 million the year after. It is more likely that he will restructure his contract before then.

(Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

25. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers — $14,300,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $11.9 million salary and $2.4 million in bonuses.

One thing to know: Kaepernick has not started a game since Week 8 of the 2015 season.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

24. Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings — $15,278,000

Position: Free safety

2016 earnings breakdown: $5.3 million salary and $10.0 million signing bonus.

One thing to know: Adrian Peterson, who will miss most of the season with a knee injury is second on the list at $12.0 million.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

23. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons — $15,750,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $15.75 million salary

One thing to know: Ryan is in the third year of his five-year, $104 million extension. His $23.8 million salary cap figure will remain the same next year, before falling to $21.7 million in the final year of the deal.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

22. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears — $16,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million salary

One thing to know: At one point, Cutler's 7-year, $126.7 million contract was named the worst quarterback contract in the NFL.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

21. David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers — $16,757,117

Position: Left tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $757,117 salary, $15.0 million signing bonus, and $1.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Aaron Rodgers, at $12.6 million, is the only other player on the roster making at least $10 million this season.

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

20. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys — $16,800,066

Position: Running Back

2016 earnings breakdown: $450,000 salary, $16.4 million signing bonus 

One thing to know: Only seven running backs have larger contracts than the 4-year, $25.0 million rookie contract Elliot signed after being drafted fourth overall in this year's draft.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

19. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions — $17,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $17.0 million salary

One thing to know: Stafford has thrown 22 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

18. Malik Jackson, Jacksonville Jaguars — $18,000,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $8.0 million salary, $10.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Jackson just sneaks into the list this year with a $10.0 million signing bonus. His total earnings in Year 2 of his 6-year, $85.5 million contract will fall to $13.5 million.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

17. David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers — $18,100,000

Position: Guard

2016 earnings breakdown: $2.1 million salary, $16.0 million bonus

One thing to know: DeCastro was originally scheduled to make $8.1 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract. Instead he signed a 5-year, $50 million contract extension, just three months after responding to a question about his future by saying, "I’m making a lot of money this year. What am I worried about?"

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

16. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams — $18,968,308

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $450,000 salary, $18.5 million signing bonus

One thing to know: The gave up six draft picks for the right to draft Goff, including their first-round pick next season. Based on how the Rams played in Week 1, that could be a top-3 pick

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

15. Cordy Glenn, Buffalo Bills — $19,000,000

Position: Left Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $3.0 million salary, $16.0 million bonus

One thing to know: Glenn makes the list this year thanks to his new $60.0 million contract and $16.0 million signing bonus. His total earnings next year will fall to $11.0 million.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

14. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins — $19,953,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $19.95 million salary

One thing to know: Cousins received the franchise tag from the Redskins, giving him a 1-year, $19.95 million contract with no bonuses. That base salary is the largest in the NFL this season.  If he receives the franchise tag again next year, his salary is expected to jump to something in the neighborhood of $24.0 million.

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

13. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers — $20,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million salary, $7.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Newton's $103.8 million contract and $60 million guaranteed both rank sixth among quarterbacks. 

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

12. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals — $20,250,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $7.2 million salary, $6.8 million signing bonus, $6.4 million roster bonus

One thing to know: Palmer's $158.4 million in career earnings ranks fifth among active players.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

11. Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans — $21,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $4.0 million salary, $12.0 million signing bonus, $5.0 million roster bonus

One thing to know: Osweiler had started just seven games in his four-year career before signing a 4-year, $72.0 million contract as a free agent with the Houston Texans.

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

9t. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers — $22,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $10.5 million salary, $5.5 million signing bonus, and $6.0 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Rivers has already made $173.9 million in his career and still has $45.0 million left on his 4-year, $83.3 million contract.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

9t. Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets — $22,000,000

Position: Defensive End

2016 earnings breakdown: $7.0 million salary, $15.0 million bonus

One thing to know: Wilkerson's $86.0 million contract is second only to J.J. Watt among defensive ends. 

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

8. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs — $23,500,000

Position: Outside Linebacker

2016 earnings breakdown: $7.4 million salary, $8.5 million signing bonus. and $7.6 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: In a perfect example of how quickly large contracts change, Houston signed a 6-year, $101.0 million contract prior to the 2015 season and then had that deal restructured prior to the 2016 season. 

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

7. Von Miller, Denver Broncos — $25,100,000

Position: Outside Linebacker

2016 earnings breakdown: $2.0 million salary, $17.0 million signing bonus, and $6.1 million other bonuses.

One thing to know: Miller signed a 6-year, $114.5 million contract just months after being named the Super Bowl MVP. The total value surpasses Ndamukong Suh's deal as the largest among defensive players.

(Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

6. Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles — $27,299,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $26.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Cox makes this list thanks to his huge $26.0 million signing bonus. Next year, his earnings drop to $4.2 million, before going back up to $12.7 million in 2018. With his contract counting $22.0 million against the cap in 2019, look for Cox to rework his contract in the next two years.

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots — $28,764,705

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $764,705 salary, $28.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Brady has said that he wants to play until he is 45 (through the 2022 season) and that he wants to play 10 more seasons (through the 2025 season).

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

3t. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens — $29,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $4.0 million salary, $25.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Flacco restructured his last contract, basically turning his 2013 contract into a nine-year, $187 million deal with six years remaining.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

3t. Olivier Vernon, New York Giants — $29,000,000

Position: Defensive End

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.8 million salary, $20.0 million signing bonus, and 7.3 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Vernon's $20 million signing bonus was the second-largest among defensive players, behind only Fletcher Cox's $26.0 million signing bonus.

(Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts — $30,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million salary, $18.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Andrew Luck's new 5-year contract is thelargest in NFL historyin terms of total value ($140.0 million) and guaranteed value ($89.0 million).

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints — $31,250,000

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.0 million salary, $30.0 million signing bonus, and $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Brees was in the last year of his contract and was set to take up an enormous $30 million in salary cap space. He recently extended his contract, lowering his salary-cap hit to $17.3 million, thanks to a $30 million signing bonus.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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