US & Canada

Jonathan Dwyer of Cardinals arrested over domestic violence

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, right, runs from Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Gerald Hodges during a 1-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game Image copyright AP
Image caption Dwyer has been dropped from this week's game after assault charges

Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police have said.

The 25-year-old running back, facing charges of aggravated assault and preventing someone from calling 911, has been suspended from the team.

The charges are from two altercations at his home in July involving a woman and an 18-month-old child.

His arrest comes after a recent spate of high profile assault incidents involving American football players.

Earlier this month Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely after a video emerged of him knocking out his then-fiancee.

After Ray Rice was suspended, Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child-abuse charges.

Critics have been calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step down after Rice initially received just a two-game ban for his assault.

Earlier this week the league announced it is hiring four women as advisers on domestic violence.

Analysis: Howard Megdal, US sports journalist

Image copyright Reuters

Across the country, outrage has been palpable.

Many fans have announced they are turning their backs on the NFL.

Fantasy leagues have been disbanded.

Even the league's own television outlets, such as Fox, CBS and ESPN, have been sharply critical.

What's gone wrong with America's favourite sport?

One of the counts against Dwyer was "aggravated assault causing a fracture" against the 27-year-old woman.

Another count was for aggravated assault against a minor, said Phoenix Police Sergeant Trent Crump.

Sergeant Crump said police were called to Dwyer's home on July 21 after neighbours reported a row.

They discussed the incident with the woman, but did not talk to Dwyer, who was hiding in the home, said Sergeant Crump.

The second physical altercation happened at Dwyer's home the following day.

After the woman was assaulted, Dwyer took a shoe and threw it at the couple's 18-month-old child, said the police officer.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Video emerged showing Rice punching his then girlfriend
Image copyright AP
Image caption NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been under fire

The victim and the child have subsequently "fled the state" because of safety concerns, he added.

The Cardinals reacted to the arrest by announcing that Dwyer has been suspended for this week's games against the 49ers.

"We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are co-operating fully," the team said in a statement.

"Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities. We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available."

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