NFL owners, executives, coaches and players have privately been expressing their displeasure over how the league and the New York Giants have handled the domestic violence allegations against kicker Josh Brown, sources confirmed to ESPN.
One team owner has called the situation an "embarrassment," sources said, as more information into Brown's alleged abuse becomes public.
The NFL initially suspended Brown for the 2016 season opener in response to a domestic violence case from May 2015, for which he was arrested but not charged. He was placed on the commissioner's exempt list Friday after documents released by the King County (Washington) Sheriff's Office showed the kicker acknowledged physical, verbal and emotional abuse against his then-wife Molly Brown. The couple has since filed for divorce.
NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, in a letter sent to Brown, said the league wants to investigate further upon learning of the new documents.
But an NFL owner, sources said, questioned how the situation reached this point, considering the league implemented a domestic violence initiative under its personal conduct policy in 2014 and hired three female advisers to assist on these issues.
Two league officials believe the NFL was disinterested in Brown's case when compared to the fervor with which it pursued the New England Patriots over Deflategate.
CBS Sports first reported teams' displeasure with the NFL's handling of the situation.
The NFL implemented a six-game suspension for domestic violence cases in 2014. The policy allows for aggravating circumstances that can make the suspension longer or mitigating circumstances that can make it shorter.
In an interview with BBC Sport on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We take this issue incredibly seriously. This is something we've been working on with policy changes, to educating our players to make sure they understand how they deal with issues with their family, give them resources to be able to deal with this. But when it happens, we're not going to tolerate it. So we have some new information here, we'll evaluate that in the context of our policy, and we'll take it from there."
By being placed on the commissioner's exempt list, Brown is still able to collect his base salary of approximately $1.15 million and is permitted to attend the Giants facility "for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation, and other permitted non-football activities," according to the letter from Birch. Brown is not allowed to attend practices or games.
New York re-signed Brown to a two-year, $4 million deal this offseason. Team co-owner John Mara said in August the Giants were comfortable re-signing Brown after reviewing all the information at their disposal.
The Giants have said they will review the newly released documents and "revisit" the issue when they return from London, where they will face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Former Bears kicker Robbie Gould signed a prorated one-year deal with the Giants and will play Sunday.
On Friday, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said the team wasn't going to abandon Brown, but multiple sources have expressed doubt that he will ever kick again in the NFL.