Dwight Howard was investigated for whipping his six-year-old son with a belt, according to TMZ.
The Florida Department of Children and Families determined, via TMZ: “The investigation is being closed with no substantiated findings of physical injuries.”
However, some evidence allegedly implicated the Rockets center.
Howard admitted to authorities he hit the kid but says he didn’t know it was wrong because that’s how he grew up.
TMZ Sports has obtained documents from the Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), summarizing the findings of the doctor who examined Braylon. It says, “Dr. Kesler noted Braylon to have a linear bruise and patterned abrasions consistent with the history given by Braylon of being struck with a belt numerous times by his father.”
The report goes on to say the injuries were “consistent with Braylon being struck with the buckle end of the belt … with excessive force, resulting in soft tissue injuries such as bruising and abrasions.”
And the report indicates Dr. Kesler found the injuries lasted longer than 24 hours and were “consistent with a medical diagnosis of physical abuse.”
And the doctor recommended that Howard participate in parenting classes and use methods other than corporal punishment to discipline his son.
Again, it’s important to note Howard was not charged after the investigation. However, it’s unclear how that determination was made given the doctor’s report.
Howard’s attorney David Oscar Markus said in a statement to the Sentinel that the Department of Children and Families investigated the “frivolous allegations” and found no evidence of child abuse. Markus also said it’s no coincidence that news of the investigation leaked after Howard filed for custody of his son.
“It is troubling to see a mother use her son as a pawn against his father, which is what is happening in this case,” the statement reads. “Dwight Howard will continue to act in the best interest of his children and do whatever is necessary to protect their welfare and best interests.”
Regardless of what else is happening on the periphery, the boy’s safety is of the utmost importance. His parents’ squabbling does not affect that.
As the Adrian Peterson case has brought attention on corporal punishment to the world of professional sports, Howard – despite being cleared – might not have heard the end of this.
There should be pressure on Florida authorities to explain how they reconciled TMZ’s characterization of the doctor’s report with their conclusion to clear Howard.