Patriots receiver Antonio Brown is facing serious allegations of rape and sexual assault in charges files in federal court. And as such his long and short term future with the New England Patriots is now in serious doubt.
The Washington Post’s Mark Maske reports that the league will give serious consideration to placing Antonio Brown on paid leave via its commissioner’s exempt list, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
One source told Maske that the exempt list is something the league “is going to have to focus on” in the coming days. It is not clear whether a decision will be made right away or even prior to this Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Dolphins.
The Patriots released a statement late Tuesday saying that the league has notified them that they will be investigating.
Maske also reports that Brown could face punishment by the league under the personal conduct policy. That policy allows the NFL to discipline a player if the league believes it is warranted regardless of whether the player is charged with or has been convicted of a crime. Maske notes that the NFL ‘generally allows legal proceedings to play out’ before taking those measures.
Brown stands accused of sexually assaulting and raping his former trainer, Britney Taylor, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida.
In the lawsuit, Taylor accuses Brown of sexually assaulting her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raping her in 2018, allegations that Brown adamantly denies.
Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, said Brown is denying all of the allegations saying that Brown and Taylor were involved in a “consensual personal relationship. Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”
Heitner’s statement also claims that Taylor only filed the suit to punish Brown for refusing to invest $1.6 million in a “business project” back in 2017.
Taylor was a gymnast at Central Michigan, where Brown attended college. According to the lawsuit, they met in a bible-study group at school and stayed friends, then fell out of touch for several years before reconnecting in June 2017, with Brown hiring her to assist in his physical training.
Brown officially signed with the Patriots on Monday after being released by the Oakland Raiders. He was expected to practice with the team on Wednesday and reportedly play on Sunday in Miami.