Hard to believe, after all the news around Ray Rice’s potentially career-ending domestic violence case and Adrian Peterson’s child abuse drama, that another NFL player would be photographed in handcuffs for similar charges any time soon. And then there was Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.
Dwyer, from metro Atlanta and Georgia Tech, was was arrested Wednesday for investigation in two altercations that occurred on July 21 and 22 at his Phoenix residence, just days before the Cardinals reported to training camp. His wife left the state after the incidents but came forward a week ago after Dwyer apparently sent suicidal text messages including a photo of a knife.
In the first encounter, police say Dwyer attempted to kiss and undress his wife, but she refused. Someone who heard the argument reported the assault to police, who showed up at the apartment but did not make an arrest. Dwyer hid in a bathroom and the wife denied he was in the home because the running back threatened to kill himself in front of her and their child if she told police about the assault, police said.
The next day, Dwyer punched his wife with a closed fist on the left side of her face, according to police. He also punched walls and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who was not injured, police said.
As his wife tried to call police, Dwyer grabbed her cellphone and threw it down from the home’s second story. Witnesses told police that Dwyer’s wife said, “I’m calling the police,” as she held her swollen face and clutched her son.
During his police interview on Wednesday, Dwyer acknowledged hiding in the bathroom when police responded to the first argument and sending a photo of a knife with suicidal threats. Dwyer denied committing an assault, though he acknowledged that he punched walls in his home, threw a phone and that his wife bit his lip during the disputes, according to the police report. As he was released from jail Thursday, he said he never hurt his son.
The Arizona Cardinals say they first learned of the domestic abuse accusations Wednesday afternoon. Hours later, “the serious nature of these allegations” led the team to deactivate the running back from all team activities.
Dwyer was released early Thursday after posting bond, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said. Police said they were carrying out a search warrant at Dwyer’s residence in pursuit of more evidence.
The 25-year-old player denied committing any assault against the 27-year-old accuser, police said.
Authorities depicted a stormy relationship between Dwyer and the woman that escalated into violence on July 21, four days before the Cardinals reported to training camp.
Neighbors heard a fight and called police, who showed up at the residence but left without making an arrest because Dwyer hid in the bathroom, and the woman said she was the only one at the home, Sgt. Trent Crump said.
“She said she was in an argument on the phone only,” Crump said.
The next day, Crump said, Dwyer snatched the woman’s cellphone and threw it from the second floor of their residence to prevent her from calling police about another dispute.
Crump confirmed there was an allegation that Dwyer threw a shoe at or toward the couple’s 18-month-old son. Crump said he couldn’t elaborate on it.
Crump said the woman moved out of state with the child but came forward last week and provided police with information about her injuries and text messages indicating Dwyer ”was going to harm himself because of what had been going on.”
The NFL has been jolted by domestic violence issues since a videotape surfaced that showed Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator. Peterson has been deactivated after child abuse charges were filed against him.
So, a league that was reeling since the Rice news continues to spiral in a public relations mess.