Unlike in the cases of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, it didn’t take graphic evidence of abuse and a sustained public backlash before the Arizona Cardinals deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer. (That could be considered the tiniest bit of progress by the NFL, although it may not be a coincidence that Dwyer is not the same caliber player.) Now public, the details of the 25-year-old’s alleged abuse against his wife and 1-year-old son are no less disturbing.
According to the police report, published by the Phoenix New Times, Dwyer head-butted his wife, fracturing her nose, when she refused sex during an argument, threatened suicide if she told the police, and returned the next day to punch her in the face and throw a shoe at the child. From the probable cause statement (emphasis ours):
The argument turned physical when the defendant attempted to kiss her and remove her clothing. The victim told the defendant several times to “stop.” When he continued, she bit the defendant’s lip. This was done to get away from him and stop his advances. After the victim bit the defendant’s lip, he head-butted her in the face, which she later learned had caused a nasal bone fracture as a result of the head butt. The Phoenix police department was called by a witness reference the loud arguing. Upon officers arrival victim reported she was engaged in a verbal argument over the telephone with a family member. She advised she and her son were the only occupants in the residence. After the officers left the victim fled with their son. She later returned after the defendant text her a picture of a knife and stated he did not want to live anymore. It was later learned by investigators the defendant was hiding inside the residence when officers responded on the initial call. She said he had threatened to kill himself in front of her and their child if she alerted the police to the assault, so she denied to the officers that he was present and that she had been assaulted.
During a fight the following afternoon, “He also began punching the walls causing visible damage. The defendant then picked up a shoe and threw it, striking their 17-month son in the stomach. The victim told the defendant she was calling the police. He grabbed her cell phone and threw it to the ground from the second story residence.”
Although these incidents occurred on July 21 and 22, Dwyer’s wife did not report him until September 11. Police refused to say whether or not her decision was related to the Ray Rice story, although, as Deadspin notes, “the publicizing of domestic violence as an issue does cause more women to report abuse.”
Phoenix police say Dwyer admitted to punching the wall, throwing the phone, and “sending a picture of a knife with threats of suicide,” but denied any physical abuse. He was released today on $25,000 bond.