Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, 25, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of domestic violence. For non-football fans, yes, this is an entirely new incident, though it manages to combine elements of the various assault cases already plaguing the NFL (including Ray Rice knocking out his wife, Adrian Peterson’s alleged child abuse, and slew of pending charges against other players). Dwyer was arrested at the team’s training facility on suspicion of aggravated assault for two incidents involving his 27-year-old wife Kayla and their 18-month-old son.
Police tell the Arizona Republic that the incidents took place over two days in late July but were not reported until September 11. Officers came to Dwyer’s home on July 21 after neighbors reported a disturbance, but when Kayla answered the door, she claimed they were fighting over the phone. “They were convinced that the fight was verbal (and) that it was called in by a third party,” said Phoenix police spokesman Sergeant Trent Crump. They now believe that Dwyer was hiding in the bathroom.
A day later, the couple got into another argument, and police say Dwyer took his wife’s cell phone and threw it from the second floor of their home. Dwyer is also accused of throwing a shoe toward their 18-month-old child during the second incident and threatening to harm himself to keep his wife from calling the police.
Dwyer was booked on suspicion of aggravated assault against his wife for fracturing a bone and aggravated assault against his child for throwing the shoe. He could also be charged with preventing a 911 call and damaging property. Dwyer’s wife and child left the state shortly after the incidents. He admitted that they were arguing, but denied that any physical abuse took place.
Arizona Republic photographer David Kadlubowski posted a photo of Dwyer being taken away by police:
Unlike some other NFL teams, the Cardinals didn’t need a few weeks to realize that they don’t want Dwyer on the field. He was immediately deactivated following his arrest, and the team released this statement:
We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully. Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities. We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available.
The NFL has only said that the incident will be “reviewed under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.”
After playing four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dwyer signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals in March. The team has three other running backs, including Chris Rainey, who was recently signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad despite being kicked off two other teams due to domestic violence allegations.