PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer posted bond and was released from a county jail on Thursday, a day after he was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault in the latest domestic violence case involving a National Football League player.
Dwyer was taken into custody on Wednesday hours after two other NFL teams placed players embroiled in domestic violence cases on leaves of absence amid intensifying criticism from corporate sponsors and politicians of America’s top sports league.
The 25-year-old Dwyer stepped out of the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix into a throng of reporters and television cameras after posting a $25,000 cash-only bond following his initial appearance in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Asked by journalists about the allegations involving a 27-year-old woman and their 18-month-old child, which include an accusation that he threw a shoe at the boy, Dwyer said, “I’d never hurt my son.”
The Cardinals said on Wednesday they had deactivated him from all team activities, “given the serious nature of the allegations.”
The Phoenix Police Department said officers began investigating after neighbors reported hearing fights at the couple’s home twice in July.
Shortly after that, the woman left Arizona with the child, citing fears for her safety, police said. On Sept. 11, she reported the two alleged incidents to police.
Detectives arrested the first-year Cardinals player at the team’s training facility on charges of aggravated assault causing a fracture, aggravated assault involving a minor, criminal damage, preventing the use of a telephone in an emergency, and assault.
On Thursday, Dwyer was ordered by the court to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, and was barred from having any contact with the woman and child. He was also prohibited from having any weapons or consuming alcohol during his release.
According to a statement filed by police, Dwyer and the woman got into a fight on July 21 after he tried to kiss and undress her.
“The victim told the defendant several times to ‘Stop,'” it said. “When he continued, she bit the defendant’s lip. This was done to get away from him and stop his advances.”
After that, it said, “he head-butted her in the face,” and she later learned her nose was broken.
Police say the player also texted her a photo of a knife, and threatened to kill himself in front of her and the child.
Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham