NFL Running Back Allegedly Headbutted Wife After She Refused To Have Sex With Him

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer (20) CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JIM MONE
Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer (20) CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JIM MONE

On Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested in connection with two alleged domestic violence incidents involving his wife and 17-month old son. It was the 57th time that an NFL player has been arrested on a domestic violence charges since Roger Goodell become the commissioner in 2006.

Today, the details of the allegations against Dwyer emerged and they are especially brutal. The particulars demonstrate why it can be terrifying and life-threatening to report an assault.

The statement of probable cause filed by the police details how the first incident started when Dwyer’s wife refused to have sex with him. According to the report, Dwyer’s wife bit his lip “to get away from him and stop his advances.” Then “he head-butted her in the face, which she later learned had caused a nasal bone fracture as a result of the head butt.”

The police were alerted after a neighbor heard loud arguing. Dwyer then threatened to kill himself if she reported the incident to the police, texting her a picture of a knife. So she initially denied the assault to the police.


The next day, according to the report, Dwyer punched he in the face and threw a shoe at their 17-month-old son. When she tried to call 911, he threw her cell phone from the second floor balcony. She then alerted the police when she felt safe, which was only after she was able to get to another state with her son.

The full report:

Of the 57 players arrested for domestic violence incidents since 2006, 34 have not received any punishment at all.

The NFL’s handling of domestic violence incidents, most notably Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson this season, has come under heavy criticism from a variety of fronts, including corporate sponsors. Major advertisers like Anheuser-Busch, FedEx and Verizon have all released statements critical of the NFL in recent days. In a statement released today, Pepsi’s CEO said “I am a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan. I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues…”

Thus far, no major sponsors have terminated their relationship with the NFL. Pepsi’s CEO, while slamming the league’s response to incidents, reaffirmed her support for Roger Goodell.


Dwyer has been deactivated by the Cardinals this week. It is unclear what penalty he will ultimately receive from the league.


An analysis by Tara Culp-Ressler on what this disturbing incident can teach Americans about domestic violence