Former Browns Great Jim Brown Fasting In Jail

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown (pictured, right) has been on a fast since being jailed earlier this month for vandalizing his wife's car.

"From what he told us, it's not a protest but a spiritual cleaning kind of thing," county Sheriff's Department spokesman Eric Nishimoto said Thursday. "He said it wasn't in protest of anything.

"It is something he has done in the past outside of our custody. He's done it in tandem with his personal physician. It's a personal choice of his. He knows his limits."

Nishimoto said Brown "is drinking fluids" and has purchased snacks and energy bars through the jail commissary. The spokesman said he did not know if Brown had eaten any of the food but had it available in his cell.

Brown told The New York Times, in a story published Thursday, that he had not eaten since being jailed and that the fast might last another week. He was unavailable for an interview Thursday under jail rules.

Brown, 66, was jailed after he refused to undergo court-ordered counseling and community service. He was jailed March 13 and, because he refused meals, the sheriff began what the department calls a medical protocol.

"We have our medical staff check him three times a week, checking his vital signs, taking blood and checking his weight," Nishimoto said. "If there's any change, we'll do it on a daily basis."

The former Cleveland Browns star is alone in a cell, isolated from other inmates, at the department's Todd Road jailhouse. Nishimoto said the isolation was for his own protection and is routine for celebrity prisoners.

"Mr. Brown has been extremely cooperative. He hasn't posed any problems," Nishimoto said.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dale S. Fischer initially sentenced Brown to a year of domestic violence counseling. She also ordered the former running back to spend 40 days on a work crew cleaning up streets or put in 400 hours of community service, pay $1,800 in fines and serve three years probation.

When Brown refused the counseling and community service orders, the judge ordered him to jail for six months.

Brown was convicted of misdemeanor vandalism. Jurors acquitted him of the more serious charge of making a terrorist threat during a June 15, 1999, argument with his wife. She later recanted and said she didn't want him arrested.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)