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Stiff-Arming History

Will Jim Brown's movie sidestep his lowlight reel?



Scene: Interior. Second-floor room. A glass door leads to a balcony. The camera zooms in as JIM BROWN and his YOUNG GIRLFRIEND argue. He grabs her violently. The glass door opens. He throws her off the balcony to the ground below as she screams.

Gripping stuff, but you probably won't see that sequence of events when the newly announced Jim Brown biopic eventually hits the local multiplex.

According to the Hollywood news website, Brown's story is finally on its way to becoming reality, now that the football legend has reportedly signed over his life story to an old producer pal. The film will be made by Hal Lieberman, who met Brown on the set of New Jersey Turnpikes, the 1999 masterpiece starring Kelsey Grammer that didn't quite ever get released.

There's no doubt the Hall of Famer's life deserves the silver-screen treatment. A multi-sport star at Syracuse at a time when he was the lone black guy on the football team, No. 32 endured untold amounts of racial hatred before starting his brilliant career with the Browns. Pigskin experts far and wide agree he was the greatest player the game has ever known.

Then there was Brown's turn in Hollywood, his anti-gang leadership, and his on-again off-again relationship with the Browns' front office.

But what has faded into the background in favor of bountiful hero worship is Brown's lengthy record of violence against women. And with Brown giving his blessing for the film, it's a safe bet that his unofficial rap sheet won't get a whiff of screen time.

The balcony scene above went down in 1968, but the charges were dropped when the 22-year-old woman refused to name the running back as her attacker — a recurring theme in Brown's brushes with the law.

Among the other douchebag highlights you probably won't ever see:

In 1965, Brown was charged with assault and battery after an 18-year-old woman alleged he forced her to have sex. He was acquitted.

In 1969, Brown was charged with assaulting a man over a traffic incident. He was acquitted.

In 1971, he was charged with battering two women. Both women chose not to testify.

In 1978, he spent a day in jail after beating a golfing partner.

In 1985, charges of rape, sexual battery, and assault against Brown were dropped after the 33-year-old woman who made the claims gave inconsistent testimony.

In 1986, Brown went to jail for allegedly beating his 21-year-old fiancée. A few days later, she informed authorities that she didn't want to press charges.

And in 1999, Brown was convicted after working out his frustrations on his 25-year-old wife's car. She previously claimed he was violent and abusive, but later testified that that was not true.

For the 1999 conviction, Brown was sentenced to probation and ordered to attend spousal-abuse counseling. He refused, asserting that the incident had nothing to do with domestic violence. For that remark, he enjoyed a brief trip to the slam.

If it all adds up to an off-the-field track record that's hard to ignore, Wikipedia does a wonderful job of ignoring it anyway: Brown's entry there mentions exactly zero of these moments.

During a jailhouse interview with Sports Illustrated, Brown once responded to questions about his history of violence. "I can definitely get angry, and I have taken that anger out inappropriately in the past," he said.

"But I have done so with both men and women. So do I have a problem with women? No."

Okay, cased closed. Who wants some popcorn?

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