ESPN writer Howard Bryant was arrested last weekend for allegedly physically assaulting his wife in public. The story was covered on the home page of ESPN.com:
“I am so sad today,” Bryant said [in a statement]. “I am sad today because this attack on me by the Massachusetts State Police and the Buckland Police has made it necessary for me to defend untrue allegations and repair my reputation when one conversation with either Veronique or with me would have diffused the entire situation. Instead, the police chose aggression first over dialogue, threatened to taser me whenever I tried to speak, and all in front of my 6-year-old son.
“As a result, I have to defend a charge that I attacked both the woman I love and the police when nothing could be further from the truth.”
“This is all so unfair,” Veronique Bryant said. “There was no investigation. The police made assumptions about my husband that weren’t true. I was never abused or in fear of Howard on that day or any other day. I wasn’t running from him or trying to get away from him. The police weren’t listening to me and they attacked him with violence with our 6-year-old watching.”
Here is Bryant’s laywer, Buz Eisenberg:
Eisenberg, being interviewed on WHMP’s 9 O’Clock Show with Bill Newman and Monte Belmonte, said Bryant was singled out by witnesses and by police simply because he was black and in Buckland. With Buckland being 96.5 percent white, according to the US Census, Bryant naturally stood out no matter what he did, Eisenberg said.
Even before the police came, Bryant could feel people staring at him on Main Street, Eisenberg said.
Eisenberg did not deny that Bryant and his wife argued on Main Street but he denied that the argument ever became physical. Witnesses told police they saw Bryant put his hands around her neck, which Eisenberg and the Bryants have disputed.
He also disputes charges by the Massachusetts State Police that he resisted arrest.
He said the witnesses, who he said were a group of 14- and 15-year-olds, watching the scene from Buckland Pizza overreacted and called police.
“What they saw was an African-American man and a Caucasian woman. It probably never entered their minds that they were married,” he said.
I got an e-mail from a friend the other day who happens to be black. He wrote:
What gets me is that E#$% chose to list this story on their front page, while others who have worked for them and were accused of or involved with similar issues were buried in the site so you had to do a search for their story. They have so many blatant double standards, it’s a wonder they don’t get kicked in the nuts with big lawsuits on a regular basis or are targeted by rights groups. Even if you don’t like the guy, the way they chose to trumpet this over others who have done similar or worse things is out of line.
In regard to what happened, that’s not surprising. Someone has it in for him; where can a professional brotha go without getting f***** with these days?
I know Howard Bryant, not well, but I consider him a friend professionally. I believe him and stand by him.