The Giants (3-3) landed in London on Friday ahead of Sunday’s pivotal game against the Los Angeles Rams. But the cloud of controversy regarding the team’s handling of kicker Josh Brown’s domestic-violence revelations followed them across the Atlantic.
A day after the Giants said that Brown wouldn’t accompany the team to London in the wake of his revealed confessions of domestic abuse, the kicker was placed on the NFL Commissioner’s Exempt List, possibly ending his career with the Giants.
Players on the exempt list can remain there for an indefinite period of time and are still paid, but don’t count against a team’s 53-man roster, meaning Brown would still receive his base salary of $1.15 million.
The Commissioner’s Exempt List was notably used in 2014 by the NFL while Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faced allegations of child abuse. According to the NFL’s Player Personnel Policy Manual, “the Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances.”
Players placed on the list “have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit,” the manual reads. “Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List… The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.”
On Friday, head coach Ben McAdoo said he had a “tough conversation” with Brown and that Brown was “working towards improving himself.”
“We’re not going to turn our back on Josh,” McAdoo said, despite the News of Brown’s status. “He’s a teammate and a guy we’re hoping makes strides.”
Earlier, the team said it would revisit the Brown situation—specifically his confessions of abusing his ex-wife, revealed in documents released by the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington on Wednesday, and the disciplinary process that followed—upon returning from London. On Thursday, the NFL said it would re-evaluate its own one-game suspension of Brown, a 14-year veteran who has played for the Giants since 2013.
The league suspended Brown in August for the first game of the 2016 regular season after concluding its own investigation into his arrest, in May 2015, for fourth-degree assault following an incident involving his then-wife, Molly Brown.
McAdoo said due to the short week preparing for the London game, he hadn’t had time to consider all the details of the situation. “A lot of it came out recently,” he said. “We’re relying on the front office to go through it.”
Former Bears kicker Robbie Gould will join the team on Saturday in London after agreeing to terms of a contract with the team Thursday night.
After taking an overnight flight to London, Giants players were left in an awkward position on Friday. With owner John Mara and members of the front office unavailable, it was left to players to field questions about Brown’s situation.
“It affects all of us because we hear the news and we are shocked by it and taken aback, but you have to understand that everyone has a job to do and we are out here to play football,” receiver Victor Cruz said.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas said the situation “wasn’t really talked about” inside the Giants, and he was relying on news reports to catch up on the details. “Just kind of talking around to the guys, some of us know about it, some of us don’t,” he said.” So it is just fresh to us and we just got to a new country here in the last eight or nine hours and some people are still sleeping. It is a tough situation and from what I have read on it, it is not too good for anyone that is involved in it.”
Quarterback Eli Manning said he wasn’t planning to address the team about Brown, and that all he could do is “support my teammates and support the organization.”
“There’s going to be distractions every week,” he said. “Something is going on, you don’t like when a teammate can’t make a game. But, hey, we’ve got to do our job and that’s getting ready to play this football game.”
Write to Jim Chairusmi at [email protected]
Source : WSJ