PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances, and punched her in the face the next day, police said Thursday.
The details surfaced in a law enforcement report a day after Dwyer was arrested on aggravated assault charges and deactivated from all team activities after he was taken into custody at the Cardinals’ practice facility and headquarters in Tempe. He spent a night in jail and made a brief court appearance before being released on bail early Thursday.
The arrest came at a time when the NFL and its commissioner are under fire over a series of violent off-the-field encounters involving some of the league’s marquee players, including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy.
The NFL has said the Dwyer case will be reviewed under the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Dwyer 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 said she hadn’t been assaulted and 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.
During Dwyer’s initial court appearance Wednesday night, defense attorney Jared Allen asked that Dwyer be allowed to leave the state for his job, but a court commissioner denied that request after prosecutor Jay Rademacher said the Cardinals had deactivated Dwyer.