Giants co-owner John Mara released a statement on the decision, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today:
In August, the NFL suspended Brown for one game. The punishment resulted from Brown's arrest in May 2015 on a charge of domestic violence. Some were critical of the league's decision after the NFL had revised its policy in August 2014 to stipulate a six-game suspension would be handed down for a first domestic violence offense.
On Oct. 19, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano unearthed journal entries and emails that detailed Brown's pattern of abuse:
In one of the documents, which was apparently signed by both Molly and Josh and called a "Contract for Change" and dated March 28, 2013 -- more than two years before Josh was arrested -- Josh makes it clear exactly how he abused Molly. There are eight items listed in the signed contract, including "I have physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly," "I have controlled her by making her feel less human than me, and manipulated her with money" and "I have disregarded my step sons' feelings and they have witnessed me abusing their mother."
Brown released a statement Tuesday saying he never struck his wife, per Adam Schefter of ESPN:
I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way. I have taken measures to get help so that I may be the voice of change, not a statistic. It is important to share that I never struck my wife, and never would. Abuse takes many forms, and is not a gray area. Through the past several years I have worked to identify and rectify my own behaviors. The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life. My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man. In the interim, I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided a statement from Brown released by the Giants:
According to James Kratch of NJ Advance Media, a Giants team spokesman indicated they received the statement Monday night, and it's unclear when a statement was provided to ESPN.
Bob Glauber of Newsday reported that under the terms of the CBA, a player's salary is guaranteed for the season if he makes the opening-day roster.
Some fans will argue Brown's release is long overdue, and the fact it's only happening now reflects poorly on the Giants as a whole.
During the process of Brown's 2015 arrest, his wife told police he had physically abused her on at least 20 occasions, starting when she was pregnant in 2009, according to Seth Walder of the New York Daily News.
Mara said Brown had previously discussed his history of domestic violence, per WFAN 660 (via The MMQB's Albert Breer): "He admitted to us he'd abused his wife in the past. What's a little unclear is the extent of that."
Breer also cited an instance ahead of the 2015 Pro Bowl in which the league needed to step in:
Mara's comments struck a nerve for ESPN's Jemele Hill:
The Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill questioned why the issue hadn't been dealt with much earlier:
Once Vacchiano's report came out, Brown's release was inevitable.The Giants couldn't continue to justify employing the 37-year-old with his past of domestic violence now public knowledge.
Brown's NFL career is almost certainly over as well. Purely on the basis of performance, no team will feel signing Brown is worth the public relations headache his arrival would cause. Should another team sign him, Brown will revert to the Commissioner's Exempt list until the matter is resolved, per Rapoport.
The bigger question is whether this controversy will spur the NFL to make any serious efforts to improve its handling of domestic violence cases. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch is skeptical the league will take any significant steps to remedy the problem:
Some thought the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice investigation would be a turning point. The league had initially suspended the former Baltimore Ravens running back for striking his then-fiancee. Only after TMZ showed video footage of the incident did commissioner Roger Goodell bring down the hammer.
"The same mistakes can never be repeated," Goodell said in September 2014, according to Barry Wilner of the Associated Press.
Two years later, the NFL is essentially right back where it started. Given the way everything has played out, it's fair for fans to question the legitimacy of whatever improvements the league says it will make for the future to avoid this situation again.