FOXBOROUGH – Every day, there seems to be a new controversy regarding New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown. Now he is accused of sexual assault and rape, as reported by Ben Shpigel of The New York Times.
Over the weekend, Brown used controversial tactics to free himself from his contract with the Oakland Raiders and land a one-year contract with the Patriots on Saturday. The signing was a point of controversy as many saw Brown as a clubhouse cancer, but others saw him as an insane talent who would propel New England to another Super Bowl. Now, all of that is irrelevant.
In the Southern District of Florida yesterday, Britney Taylor, Brown's former athletic trainer, filed a "federal civil complaint" against Brown, alleging that he raped her and sexually assaulted her on multiple instances. According to the lawsuit, the actions took place twice in June 2017, when Brown exposed himself to Taylor and forcibly kissed her and then later masturbated behind her without her consent, and once in May 2018, when the rape levied in the allegation transpired.
The May 2018 instance came after Taylor was fired by Brown over text message in 2017 and she only agreed to return to work for him if he agreed to stop sexually assaulting her. While Brown has categorically denied these allegations, evidence of extremely disturbing email and text messages allegedly sent by Brown have since been released and seem to provide genuine evidence against Brown.
And, frankly, that should be enough of a warrant to cut Brown from the Patriots organization altogether. Too many times has the NFL given a pass to people who have committed acts of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and rape, simply because they are talented at the sport they play.
The Patriots released a statement that said they are aware of the allegations and will not be commenting further while the investigation is ongoing, but this evidence seems certainly damning enough that a decision can be made beyond football here.
Personally, given the evidence, I don't want Brown to be a part of this team, and if the Patriots refuse to take action on that, then I certainly hope the NFL does. Or, if the investigation proceeds and Brown is found to be guilty of these actions, he should certainly be cut at that time. And a release from his football team should be a punishment considered minor for his actions.
But, the investigation remains ongoing and we do not have all the answers yet. However, I am very much inclined to believe Taylor at the outset of this ordeal.
The most recent updates on the situation include claims that Taylor has passed a lie detector test, that Brown is planning to counter-sue her (per Josina Anderson of ESPN), and a new report from the NFL that has them "seriously considering" placing Brown on the exempt list, which would render him unable to play football while the investigation is conducted.
In other Patriots news, Rob Gronkowski tweeted out the eyes emoji, typically used to imply something major is coming, and the team traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets for a sixth round draft pick, but both instances seem to be unrelated to the news about Antonio Brown, at least for the time being.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall