Josh Brown, the disgraced ex-Giants kicker, is looking to get back into the NFL, and he began his campaign by insisting that he "never" hit his wife.
"The world now thinks that I beat my wife," Brown said. "I never hit her. Never once."
That is a stunning claim that would seem to run counter to Brown's own words that he wrote in his own personal journals, which SNY.TV and other outlets published in October. In those journals, the kicker wrote that "I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man" and he circled the words "I have abused my wife."
But Brown, in an interview that will air Thursday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America" insisted that while he was physically abusive towards his now ex-wife Molly, he never actually struck her.
"I mean, I had put my hands on her," he said in an excerpt released by ABC. "I kicked the chair. I held her down. The holding down was the worst moment in our marriage.
"I never hit her. I never slapped her. I never choked her. I never did those types of things."
When Brown is asked in the interview how people are supposed to reconcile what he says, that he abused her but didn't hit her, Brown said, "They're not supposed to. What I did was wrong. Period."
"Domestic violence is not just physical abuse," Brown said. "We're talking intimidation and threats, the attempt to control, body language. An abuser is going to abuse to a certain degree to acquire some kind of a reaction."
Brown did add that "I'm fully accountable to every bit of it." And when he was asked if he had any excuse for his actions, he said "None."
It's unclear whether any of this interview will help or hurt Brown's cause as he apparently attempts to jumpstart his NFL career. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Brown on Wednesday during his annual State of the NFL press conference at the Super Bowl in Houston and he said only that the league's investigation into Brown's domestic violence history is still open.
"We do have an active investigation on Josh Brown," Goodell said. "You know from last fall that we didn't have all of the information from law enforcement. They released some of that at a later date. We now have that information and we will continue that investigation.
"Until we have a final decision, we won't be making any decisions about anyone's eligibility on that front."
For Brown, the interview was his first since the day after his suspension was announced last August and it was learned that he had been arrested on domestic violence charges in May, 2015. Brown famously downplayed the incident and called it "just a moment" and Giants coach Ben McAdoo insisted he supported his kicker "as a man, a father and a player."
Soon after, horrifying details of that arrest became public, including the fact that Brown's then-wife accused him of "more than 20" instances of domestic violence. But Brown refused to discuss them and the Giants refused to waver in their support. Two months later, SNY.TV and other outlets revealed even more horrific details from Brown's personal journals in which he called himself a sex-addicted "deviant" who viewed himself as "God" and his wife as "my slave," and in which he admitted "I have abused my wife" both physically and mentally.
That finally got the Giants' attention, and they decided to leave Brown home when they travelled to London to face the Rams. The NFL then placed Brown on the reserve/commissioner exempt list on Oct. 21 as it reopened its investigation, but the Giants decided not to wait for a resolution. They cut Brown four days later instead.
Before the Giants cut him, though, co-owner John Mara made what became the Giants' last public comment on the whole sordid affair - his stunning admission in an interview on WFAN that Brown "admitted to us he'd abused his wife in the past. What's a little unclear is the extent of that." Among the many unanswered questions is whether Brown admitted to abusing his wife before or after the Giants signed Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract in April, 2015.
It's hard to imagine the NFL would clear Brown to return without extending his suspension, but even if they did the market figures to be thin. He'll turn 38 in April. And even though he made 91.7 percent of his field goals (88 of 96) in his four-plus years with the Giants, his admitted history of domestic violence figures to make him toxic for most teams.