Torrey Smith is an NFL wide receiver, and he is someone who, as a youngster, witnessed the horrors of domestic violence. So he was well-positioned Friday to fire off several Twitter posts that questioned his league’s priorities in the wake of its handling of Josh Brown.
Earlier on Friday, news broke that Brown, the Giants’ place kicker, had been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, a move that previously had been employed while the domestic-violence cases of Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy played out. What particularly irked Smith is that Brown, who wrote of abusing his wife in documents that emerged this past week, will be able to collect his base salary of about $1.5 million — this while the league fines players for the way they celebrate touchdowns.
Other NFL news on Friday included the league fining Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. over $24,000 for taking off his helmet after a score, and fining Redskins tight end Vernon Davis over $12,000 for taking a basketball-style jump shot with the football after reaching the end zone. Earlier in October, Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was fined $10,000 for pantomiming a bow-and-arrow shot, and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined over $24,000 for a “sexually suggestive” touchdown dance.
Meanwhile, Brown, 37, was removed from the Giants’ trip to London to play the Rams, and he likely will never play for the team again, but he is allowed at its facility for individual meetings and physical therapy, in addition to continuing to receive his paycheck. To the 27-year-old Smith, in his second season with the 49ers after four with the Ravens, this makes for a jarring juxtaposition.
Smith, a Virginia native, grew up watching his mother experience domestic violence, including this harrowing incident (as related in a 2010 Post feature):
Torrey and his brother sat in the back seat of the car as the husband placed a 9mm gun to [his mother] Monica’s head. He held it still. He pulled the trigger. When the ringing in Monica’s ears stopped, she realized she was still alive and looked up to see the hole in the roof left by the bullet. The kids fled to their grandma’s, while the husband held Monica hostage. Her mother called the sheriff, and a SWAT team was summoned and treated it as a kidnapping. …
Asked recently about his emotions during those years, Torrey says: “When you see domestic abuse, there is nothing you can do as a kid. You just watch, hope, wish you were bigger so there was something you could do. There was not really anything I could do but console my mother, help her get through it.”
Not that one needs to have a personal history with domestic violence to abhor it, of course, but Smith’s experiences have made him an outspoken advocate for greater awareness of the problem. However, he also tweeted his desire for Brown to “get help.”
Brown received a one-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. The league may assess further punishment, pending the outcome of a reopened investigation into the kicker’s abuse of his now ex-wife.
In a statement Friday, the Giants said that they “do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence.” The team added, “Josh has acknowledged that he has issues in his life and has been working on these issues through therapy and counseling for a long period of time. We remain supportive of Josh and his efforts.”