The ex-wife of Josh Brown told police that the New York Giants kicker had been physically violent with her on more than 20 instances over the past several years, but the NFL said Friday it arrived at a one-game suspension for him, in part, because the league was unable to gather information from Molly Brown and law enforcement officers during its investigation.
Molly Brown's comments to police -- according to documents obtained by ESPN -- followed Josh Brown's May 2015 arrest on a charge of assault in the fourth degree/domestic violence, for which he was suspended one game by the NFL on Wednesday.
Police were called on multiple occasions to the Browns' residences in Washington state, St. Louis and New Jersey over the years, Molly Brown said, and she had a protection order against her husband in 2013. She said the order was later dropped because of progress they had made in counseling. She also said her husband sent a letter in April 2014 to friends, admitting abusive behavior and lying to make her look bad.
"In the course of the League's investigation, our investigators became aware that his wife had filed a statement with the county court alleging previous altercations between the spouses," the NFL said in a statement Friday. "However, despite multiple attempts to speak with her about this incident and her previous statements, she declined to speak with us.
"We understand that there are many reasons that might have affected her decision not to speak with us, but we were limited in our ability to investigate these allegations."
The NFL said it was informed of the May 2015 incident in Washington state and then became aware of the previous alleged altercations while investigating the matter.
"Over the course of the 10-month investigation, we also made numerous requests -- as late as this spring -- to local law enforcement officers for information on the case and previous allegations. They declined those requests for information," the NFL statement said.
"As a result of these factors, our investigators had insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations. In addition, no criminal charges were brought forward regarding the incident in question or prior allegations. The NFL therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident as provided to us by the District Attorney."
The charge in the 2015 case was dropped because of "insufficient evidence," according to the King County, Washington, prosecutor's office. The NFL said that even though there were no criminal charges, the one-game suspension was based on "both aggravating and mitigating factors regarding discipline for domestic violence," per the league's personal conduct policy.
Josh Brown said he informed the Giants of the 2015 charge on the day of the incident, and a team spokesman confirmed they knew of that incident.
Brown was accused by his ex-wife of pushing her into a large mirror in their bedroom, throwing her on the floor, jumping on top of her and pinning her face to the carpet with his forearm on the back on her neck. In a separate incident, he allegedly kicked a door off the hinges and into the arm of her son, kicked a chair into his wife and pushed her over a paper shredder.
Molly Brown also told police that he verbally threatened her consistently over the years, including death threats.
During one incident on Oct. 1, 2014, Josh Brown called the police and alleged he was kicked in the ribs by his wife. The incident occurred while he was trying to have her removed from the apartment.
The Giants were aware of the police being called to the Browns' residence in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 2014-15, Molly Brown said. She said the owners of the apartment they were renting were trying to blackmail the couple, and the Giants' attorneys "basically did what they needed to do to make the guy go away."
Josh Brown acknowledged Thursday that the suspension stemmed from the 2015 incident, calling it a "moment that happened over a year ago."
"While I'm not OK with the decision, I have to respect it," Brown added. "So I look forward to a 15-game season and moving forward with my teammates."
Brown will miss the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.
The domestic violence policy establishes a six-game baseline for first offenses but allows for aggravating circumstances that can make the suspension longer or mitigating circumstances that can make it shorter.
Brown and the union argued that there should be no suspension, but the NFL determined that the one incident about which the report was filed required them to act.
The Giants re-signed Josh Brown this offseason to a two-year, $4 million deal.
In 2001, Brown pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges when he was a junior at the University of Nebraska after getting into a fight with a man dating Brown's ex-girlfriend, who was thrown to the ground by Brown in the scuffle, according to an Associated Press report at the time.
Information from ESPN's Dan Graziano was used in this report.