Roger Goodell’s headache known as off-the-field violence is growing to migraine proportions.
The Gothamist is reporting that two days before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for the NFL poor disciplinary action towards perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault, his security head and bodyguard allegedly punched and choked a Daily News photographer in a patch of rose bushes on East 93rd Street and Park Avenue.
“I saw the driver get out of his car very aggressively, grab the photographer, and shout ‘You’re under arrest, I’m a policeman!'” says Joshua Holland, who witnessed the encounter while he was walking his dog.
“The driver pulled the photographer off his bike, wrestled him to the ground in the median, and punched him in the face once. Then he was on top of him holding him down with an arm bar, a forearm jammed into his neck,” Holland says. “He was freaking out and shouting ‘I’m a cop! I’m a cop!’ I was like, does this guy have a gun? I was a little worried about that.”
Freelance photographer J.B. Nicholas was waiting outside the NFL headquarters on Park Avenue and East 52nd Street with several other Daily News reporters in hopes of getting a shot of Goodell.
“All day I had been watching NFL owners come and go,” Nicholas says. “And they were being escorted by Thomas Crowe. He’s the head of NFL security for the building and acts as Roger Goodell’s personal bodyguard when he’s in New York. He was the one who drove Goodell’s SUV out of his Bronxville residence the previous morning.”
Nicholas states he saw Thomas Crowe, NFL head of security and Goodell’s personal bodyguard, leave NFL headquarters in an SUV, so Nicholas followed Crowe in case Goodell was either in the car or being picked up.
“Somewhere between 88th and 89th, the truck pulls up alongside me on the passenger side, turns on its windshield wipers and pins me against a double parked car,” Nicholas says. “I was knocked off and the truck ran over my foot.”
SB Nation reports that the bike versus SUV continued, then Crowe confronted Nicholas directly.
On Park and East 93rd, Nicholas claims the SUV’s driver “cut the wheels to the left and gunned it, and knocked me off the bike again.” According to witness Holland, Crowe then got out of the SUV.
“[Crowe]’s telling everyone he’s a cop, I hold him off with a stiff arm in the intersection and then my phone fell, so I figure I’d just sit down at the end of the flower bed in the median and wait for the cops to come and arrest this guy. Then he tackles me backward and puts his forearm into my neck and starts choking me.
“So I grab his tie and say, ‘Stop f**king choking me!’ And he loosens up and puts his hand on my diaphragm. That’s when I hear sirens, and Crowe says, ‘The calvary’s coming.'”
The police who arrived at the scene charged Nicholas, not Crowe, with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and criminal mischief. Nicholas contends that police ignored multiple eyewitnesses who attest that Crowe was the aggressor.
While the details remain murky, the NFL certainly won’t be pleased to see media reports of more violence connected to the league.
[Image courtesy of Black Sports Online]