- Tom Canavan/AP
The Josh Brown case took an ugly turn this week when new details emerged from released documents showed that Brown had admitted to abusing his wife in a journal that had been obtained during an investigation of domestic abuse.
The NFL is now coming under fire for not doing more to investigate the situation and to learn more about Brown’s own admissions to additional incidents before suspending him for a single game. The NFL defended its own investigation and seemingly placed the blame on the sheriff’s department in King County, Washington.
The sheriff was not pleased with those comments. In an interview with KIRO Radio in Seattle, Sheriff John Urquhart called the NFL “a bully” and said they would have gotten more information if they had used proper channels.
“I don’t like to get pushed around by a bully,” Urquhart told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.
Urquhart went on to explain that his office did receive a request from “Rob Agnew,” who used a Comcast.net email address, but that there was no indication the he was working on behalf of the NFL. He also explained that representatives of the NFL also made calls to the office seeking more information but were denied before it got to the desk of Urquhart, because it was still an open investigation.
According to Urquhart, that’s where the NFL screwed up.
“Nowhere on the request (from Agnew) does he say that he works for the NFL and so, we don’t know that it’s the NFL and we’re not gonna give it out anyway, so we denied it,” Urquhart said. “To our discredit, perhaps, we didn’t use the Google, to Google this guy’s name. Turns out that he is a security representative based in Seattle for the NFL. But he never told us that. The NFL never told us that.”
Urquhart went on to explain that if the NFL had made formal request – as opposed to the informal phone calls that never reached his desk – it would have reached his desk and he would have been able to have a conversation with the NFL about the case.
“At no time has the NFL ever filed a written request – public disclosure request – for any of these files. Period. It’s never happened … [if they had] I would have said exactly the same thing, ‘We cannot release the case file.’ But since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it’s the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had. But we don’t have them calling us here. We’ve got some goofus from Woodinville named Rob Agnew asking for the case file. We have no idea who he is … We would have told them, ‘Be careful, NFL, don’t rush into this. This case is blossoming way more than what happened on May 22nd of 2015. We’re getting more information, be careful.’ Again, we’re not gonna give them specifics but we certainly would have cautioned the NFL to be careful about what they were going to do.”
After the release of the documents, the NFL said they were going to re-open their own investigation into the New York Giants kicker. In the meantime, Brown did not travel with the Giants to London where the team will face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Brown had previously been suspended for one game for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. That suspension was the result of an arrest in May 2015 in which Brown was charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence.
In their statement, the NFL wrote:
“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.”
To make matters uglier for the NFL, it appears that similar documents were freely available from the Browns’ ongoing divorce case, according to Deadspin.
The sheriff reiterated that he was not happy with the NFL deflecting the blame on his office.
“I don’t like the NFL taking shots at the sheriff’s office when it’s not deserved,” Urquhart said. “It’s real simple … for them to say it’s our fault – and it’s not our fault any more than it’s their fault when you get right down to it – for them to say it’s our fault that they only gave them a one-day suspension, that’s just not true. That’s what I object to.”