Hours after former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien was released from jail last week on a charge of fourth-degree domestic assault, he and his wife said he committed no such crime.
“As a family we are deeply concerned about the situation,” the couple wrote in a joint statement July 2. “Occurrences like this one are often chaotic scenes which are not conducive to revealing full clarity about what actually transpires.”
And yet, according to arresting officer Todd Brownlee’s report of the incident, Rypien acknowledged hitting his wife Danielle Rypien on Sunday, June 30, in Spokane near Maple Street and Garland Avenue in his car after an argument erupted.
The former WSU quarterback said his wife Danielle Rypien got the “wind knocked out of her” after he pushed her hands away from his face, the report says.
The report also says Rypien told police Danielle Rypien covered his eyes with her hands as he drove.
Later, when Danielle Rypien laid in the grass clutching her stomach and struggling to breath, Mark Rypien reportedly told his wife to “tell the truth.”
“Did you hit her?” Brownlee asked Mark Rypien, according to the report.
“Yes, I did,” he replied.
Mark Rypien’s attorney, Chris Bugbee, in an email message Thursday stood by his client’s statements, saying that while Mark Rypien admittedly struck his wife, it was in self-defense.
“He shoved Danielle back into the passenger seat with his right arm and elbow hard enough to ensure that he would move her out of the way,” wrote Bugbee. “So when the officer informed Mark that a witness had seen a man strike Danielle in the car, he told the officer that he was the person. There is no doubt that he struck her when he moved her.”
Mark Rypien has said he believes he has chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma. Symptoms often include impulse control problems, impaired judgment and aggression. Diagnosis of CTE can only be made with an autopsy.
Though he and his wife say neither CTE nor medication played a role in last week’s incident, the couple said last year in interviews that his condition contributed to a previous domestic assault situation in November 2017 that resulted only in the arrest of Danielle Rypien.
The couple later said Mark Rypien was mostly at fault when he “got angry” and threw Danielle Rypien on a bed. They blamed the sudden outburst on a change in his CTE medication.
Danielle Rypien disclosed covering for her husband when police arrived at their home two years ago. The charge was eventually dropped.
“I don’t regret it, per se, but I did not tell the police what happened,” she told The Spokesman-Review. “This was a fluke thing.”
Brownlee’s report says that despite Danielle Rypien asking a witness to call 911 after crawling from the passenger seat of the couple’s black Mazda, she later begged officers not to arrest or charge him, saying it could disrupt his charity, the Rypien Foundation.
At one point, according to the report, she asked, “What do I have to say so that you arrest me and not him?”
“If you have to do something legal here, I’m going to have to say it was on me and I was sick,” she reportedly told Brownlee.
To her husband, “You’ll go to jail Mark, and you can’t go to jail.”
Bugbee in court last week said an investigation would show his client was innocent. Rypien was released from custody without bond.