The NFL on Friday issued a statement regarding Antonio Brown following the wide receiver’s release by the New England Patriots.
The league said in its statement that they are “vigorously and expeditiously” investigating multiple allegations against Brown.
In response to questions re: Antonio Brown’s status: pic.twitter.com/dxjdYptzso
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) September 21, 2019
The important part of the statement is the point that Brown could be placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list if signed, which would allow him to be paid by a new team but prevent him from playing. The league also said that Brown could face discipline from the league if they find he violated the law or Personal Conduct Policy.
The statement seems to be a warning to teams thinking of signing Brown.
It’s hard to imagine a team signing Brown under these conditions and with so many outstanding legal matters. The league could consider Brown’s text messages to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct as harassing and intimidating, which would be grounds for discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy.
Though the likelihood of Brown playing this season seems slim, a 2020 return could be possible once the league completes its investigation and rules on Brown.
Antonio Brown’s New England Patriots tenure is finished.
The wide receiver was released by the team Friday as allegations of improper conduct surrounding a sexual assault charge continued to grow.
“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the team said in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”
Brown thanked the Patriots via social media for the opportunity to play for them.
— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019
Brown ultimately played in one game for New England, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. He landed there after a troubled preseason in Oakland, where he quickly fell out with management. Shortly after joining the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, a former trainer filed a lawsuit against Brown alleging three instances of sexual assault. Whether the Patriots knew of the pending suit when signing him remains the subject of some speculation.
The last straw for New England may have been a series of messages harassing a second accuser, which the league confirmed Friday were sent by Brown. The messages, combined with mounting allegations of sexual assault, made Brown’s position with the Patriots untenable. It’s highly unlikely that anyone else picks the 31-year-old up now.
Tom Brady wants to make it clear that he’s not blaming the referees for the numerous penalties called during Thursday night’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Brady sent a pair of critical tweets during Thursday’s game, which was marred by constant flags, some of which were definitely questionable. On Friday, Brady sought to clarify them, stating that he wasn’t blaming the referees for their performance.
Brady said he wasn't criticising officiating in his tweets last night. Said he's very "pro-ref."
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) September 20, 2019
Essentially, Brady is blaming the NFL for having officials call things more tightly. And he has a point: per NFL.com’s Judy Battista, offensive holding penalties are way up in 2019 compared to where they were the year before.
— Patrick Crawley (@pecrawleynfl) September 20, 2019
We saw this coming during the preseason, and perhaps we should’ve worried then. Many fans would agree with Brady, though. Parts of Thursday night’s game were very difficult to watch because of all those flags.
- Tom Brady
The allegations are piling up against Antonio Brown, and even New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is finding that it is difficult to completely ignore them.
On Friday, Belichick began his press conference by acknowledging that there are off-field issues going on with Brown that the Patriots are taking seriously. As expected, however, he said he would not have any further comment on the situation.
Belichick on Antonio Brown: “I know there are questions about Antonio. We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into. I'm not going to comment on any of the off the field situations." pic.twitter.com/jTPawXJQb7
— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 20, 2019
When reporters refused to ask questions about any topic or player other than Brown, Belichick ended the press conference.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) September 20, 2019
Belichick does not often get bothered by media questions, and him saying they were looking into things sounded ominous for Brown.
The Patriots knew of the potential headaches they might have to deal with by signing Brown, but things have really only gotten worse for him since they brought him in. They were supposedly completely blindsided by the sexual assault lawsuit that was filed against Brown last week, and another woman has accused him of sexual misconduct since.
The latest issue involving Brown centers around some text messages that were shared with the public early Friday morning. They allegedly show that Brown was harassing and trying to intimidate the woman who made the most recent sexual misconduct allegation by attacking her credibility in a group text with his associates. The NFL is looking into all of the allegations, and there’s still a very real possibility that Brown could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
The NFL is investigating harassing text messages allegedly sent by Antonio Brown to the second woman who accused the wide receiver of sexual misconduct.
On Monday, Sports Illustrated published a lengthy story containing many allegations of improper behavior by Brown, including incidents for which he has been sued. The story notably contained allegations from a female artist who says she was hired by Brown to paint a mural in his home. Brown met the woman when he won an auction bidding on a painting of hers at a charity softball game for the National Youth Foundation in June 2017. The receiver later hired her to paint a mural in his home.
The woman claims Brown became inappropriate during her second day of painting at his home when he approached her while nude, with nothing but a small towel covering his genitals. She says after she did not respond to his flirtations, the attitude of Brown and his team towards her changed and became chilly. She never finished the painting and was not contacted by Brown again.
In a statement from his attorney shared on Monday, Brown denied the woman’s allegations.
But the story does not end there.
SI’s Robert Klemko, who wrote the original story on Brown, shared screenshots of text messages the woman allegedly received from Brown on Wednesday night, two days after her allegations were published. In his text messages, which were sent to a group of five people, Brown accused the woman of making stuff up for money and directed his people to investigate her.
New tonight: Antonio Brown sent our source from Monday’s story menacing group text messages, including a picture of her children with instructions for his associates to investigate her.
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) September 20, 2019
Klemko says the text messages came from the same number Brown provided to the artist in a 2017 Instagram direct message. Brown included his lawyer on the text messages. Brown’s attorney told Klemko he did not advise Brown to communicate with the woman and otherwise declined comment.
The artist’s lawyer, Lisa J. Banks, contacted the NFL about the harassing messages and asked for the league and New England Patriots to step in and end Brown’s behavior.
The attorney called the messages “intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.”
“Our client … is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her,” the lawyer wrote. “While she certainly qualifies as a ‘starving artist,’ she has never approached Mr. Brown, nor will she, about seeking money to compensate her for his sexual misconduct, contrary to his allegations in the text messages.”
The NFL quickly responded to the lawyer’s letter and set up a phone call between investigators and the artist’s attorney.
SI reached out to the phone number that they believe belonged to Brown, asking about the allegations. “foh clown” was the response they received. “FOH” is an acronym for “get the f— out of here.”
Brown, who made his Patriots debut on Sunday, was first sued by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, who accused him of sexually assaulting her three times between 2017 and 2018. Brown denied the allegations and accused her of making a money grab.
The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy prohibits: “Stalking, harassment, or similar forms of intimidation.”
The league could view these messages as harassment/intimidation and move to discipline the wide receiver for a violation of the policy, which would jeopardize his playing status.
Antonio Brown has seemingly been under a gag order since the New England Patriots signed him, but that order was lifted on Thursday.
Brown spoke with reporters for the first time since arriving in New England. As expected, he said very little about the sexual assault lawsuit against him and his status with the NFL. The star receiver said he is grateful to be playing under Bill Belichick and alongside Tom Brady, but he avoided questions about his ongoing legal issues.
Antonio Brown just answered 4 questions in Patriots locker room pic.twitter.com/BvtZf3qjJ7
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) September 19, 2019
“I appreciate that question, I am here to just focus on ball and look forward to getting out there in the home stadium and be home with the team,” Brown said when asked about his playing status.
Brown, of course, has been sued by his former trainer Britney Taylor, who says Brown sexually assaulted her on three different occasions. Some new allegations against him also came to light this week in a lengthy Sports Illustrated feature, when a woman who chose to remain anonymous accused Brown of sexual misconduct while she was working for him painting a mural at one of his homes.
Taylor met with the NFL for 10 hours on Monday, and Brown is expected to meet with league officials at some point in the near future. There remains a possibility that he could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, but he appears to be clear to play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Antonio Brown has dealt with numerous legal issues over the past few years, and there could be more that have yet to come to light.
Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated published a featured this week in which he spoke with two dozen people about the troubling aspects of Brown’s personal and professional life. The story included everything from new sexual misconduct allegations to service fees Brown supposedly never paid, and Klemko says even more people have come forward since. One of them is considering filing criminal charges against Brown.
From @RobertKlemko w/us on @FoxSportsRadio – 'Since we published the Antonio Brown story in SI, we've had four people reach out to us about situations with him, and one person is potentially going to file criminal charges that are not sex or debt related.'
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) September 19, 2019
The sexual assault allegations against Brown are obviously the most noteworthy of his legal issues, but he has also been accused by multiple people of skipping out on bills and not fulfilling his end of business agreements. If someone is considering filing charges unrelated to sexual misconduct or unpaid debt, that would likely be an allegation we have not yet heard about.
Brown has been accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, on multiple occasions. He will not face criminal charges over at least some of those allegations due to the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. Another woman who chose to remain anonymous also told Klemko she was a victim of sexual misconduct when working at Brown’s house.
The Patriots knew they were taking a risk when signing Brown to a one-year deal, though they supposedly did not know about Taylor’s lawsuit. However, they were obviously aware of all the baggage that comes along with the star receiver. That is not going away anytime soon.