League operations manager Adrian Anderson said the Bulldogs’ medical report on Ward, plus the match review panel’s decision to grade the contact as reckless rather than intentional, saved the Suns hard man a longer ban.
Brown took the early plea for his two controversial incidents during Saturday’s game.
He also accepted a two-game suspension for high contact with key forward Barry Hall.
There has been a strong reaction to the two Brown penalties, with several AFL commentators arguing the Ward punishment should have been harsher.
But neither Ward or Hall were injured in the incidents.
Brown threw his elbow back and caught Ward in the face, briefly stunning him.
“I’ve heard a lot of comparisons with elbows and king hits and whatever, in all of those cases you’ve got a bloke with either a broken jaw or concussed or out for several weeks,” Anderson said on radio station 3AW about the Ward incident.
“That worked in his favour.”
Had the panel ruled the Ward strike was intentional rather than reckless, Brown would have faced a three-game ban with an early plea.
“It is on the lighter side,” Anderson admitted.
“The reason why the match review panel did that is because he wasn’t looking at Ward when he threw his arm back.
“They weren’t satisfied he intended to hit him the way he did, that could have gone either way … I can see their argument.
“It’s not clearly wrong, I don’t think.”
Losing their vice-captain for a month is another blow for the fledgling Suns after they started their debut season with big losses to Carlton and the Bulldogs.
Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna admitted on Tuesday that Brown must earn back his team-mates’ trust.
McKenna said a “remorseful” Brown addressed the young Suns playing group as they prepared for this weekend’s clash with Melbourne.
“I spoke to him over the course of the weekend (and) he addressed the playing group today,” he said.
“Obviously he was remorseful to the playing group.
“He understands that he has let them down.
“He has to earn back their trust – which I am sure he will do.”