The Antonio Brown saga of 2019, which had been packed stuffed with surprises and was a supply of social-media leisure, is not amusing. In a civil lawsuit filed in September within the Southern District of Florida, the now-former Patriots huge receiver was accused of exploitation, sexual assault and rape.
The plaintiff, 28-year-old Britney Taylor, alleges the 31-year-old Brown sexually assaulted her on three events in 2017 and 2018, with the third incident escalating to rape.
The Patriots, who signed Brown to a one-year contract hours after the Raiders launched him within the first week of September, acknowledged the lawsuit in a press release and famous the NFL had knowledgeable the crew it was investigating the alleged incidents. New England ultimately launched Brown.
An NFL spokesman informed The Boston Globe after Brown’s launch that the league’s investigation will proceed although Brown is not on a crew. On Nov. 10, ESPN reported Brown was not anticipated to return to the sector in 2019 regardless of his continued push to take action.
Brown filed a countersuit in opposition to Taylor on Nov. 20. He denied Taylor’s allegations and reiterated his declare that their sexual relationship was consensual always, ESPN reported. Brown requested a jury trial, per ESPN’s report.
Beneath is every part you might want to know concerning the Brown case.
What we all know concerning the lawsuit in opposition to Antonio Brown
Taylor, a gymnast from Memphis, Tenn., met Brown in 2010 when the 2 have been college students at Central Michigan. She was paired with Brown as bible research companions within the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes group. Three years later, Brown, then with the Steelers, contacted Taylor and requested her to ship him a revealing picture by way of social media, in line with the lawsuit. Taylor refused, and the 2 fell out of contact.
In 2017, Brown contacted Taylor, who had opened a health club, to request coaching forward of the upcoming NFL season. Taylor agreed to assist, and their association included Taylor flying every so often to Pittsburgh and Florida, the place Brown had properties. In accordance with the lawsuit, Taylor “by no means dated or had an curiosity in any romantic relationship with Brown. Their relationship, so far as Ms. Taylor believed and behaved, was that of a ‘brother-sister’ sort.”
The next is the checklist of allegations because of what occurred from that time by way of 2018, immediately from the lawsuit’s introduction:
This case is about how Antonio Brown — a extremely profitable huge receiver within the NFL — exploited, sexually assaulted, and raped his former coach Britney Taylor. Brown preyed on Ms. Taylor’s kindness and her spiritual devotion, casting himself as an individual equally devoted to his spiritual religion and somebody she may belief. In actuality, he used manipulation and false guarantees to lure her into his world, and as soon as there, he sexually assaulted and raped her. These heinous acts have inflicted extreme and dramatic harm on Ms. Taylor, irreparably harming her.In June 2017, Brown sexually assaulted Ms. Taylor twice whereas they have been collectively for coaching classes. First, Brown uncovered himself and kissed Ms. Taylor with out her consent. Later that month, Brown, whereas positioned behind Ms. Taylor, started masturbating close to her with out her data and ejaculated on her again. Ms. Taylor realized what occurred when she felt a moist spot soak by way of her clothes. Later, in astonishingly profane and indignant textual content messages, Brown bragged concerning the incident to her.Shocked and deeply embarrassed by this assault and his degrading messages, Ms. Taylor minimize off her working relationship with Brown.Nonetheless, a number of months later, Brown reached out to Ms. Taylor, expressing contrition, begging forgiveness and pleading along with her to coach him once more. Ms. Taylor was hesitant however ultimately agreed, swayed by his assurance that he would stop any sexual advances.Brown’s assurances proved false.On Could 20, 2018, Brown cornered Ms. Taylor, pressured her down onto a mattress, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcibly raped her. Ms. Taylor tried to withstand him, however Brown was too robust and bodily overpowered her. She screamed and cried all through your complete rape, repeatedly shouting “no” and “cease.” Brown refused and penetrated her.Brown’s assaults and rape have severely traumatized Ms. Taylor. Ms. Taylor has suffered near-daily panic assaults and suicidal ideations.Ms. Taylor brings this motion to recuperate compensatory and punitive damages for the numerous hurt Brown attributable to this brutal and sadistic misconduct.
Who’s Britney Taylor?
Taylor’s lawsuit in opposition to Brown describes her as a “world-class gymnast.” Born in Memphis, she began gymnastics at age three. Whereas in highschool, she reached “elite” standing, which in line with the lawsuit made her eligible to compete in worldwide competitions. The lawsuit additionally states Taylor “can be inducted into the inaugural Tennessee Gymnastics Corridor of Fame” this yr.
In 2010, Taylor spent her freshman yr of faculty at Central Michigan, however the subsequent yr she transferred to LSU, from which she later graduated.
In 2016, Taylor opened a gymnastics coaching heart in Memphis “for predominantly African-American women.”
In accordance with the lawsuit, Taylor “succeeded in (gymnastics) although she usually labored with unsupportive and verbally abusive coaches and was virtually all the time the lone African-American gymnast on her crew
and at meets.” It states that, along with her health club, Taylor “needed to create a secure and supportive atmosphere for younger women of shade to thrive within the sport of gymnastics — one thing that was usually lacking for her when she was a younger woman.”
What’s Antonio Brown’s protection crew saying?
Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, issued a press release claiming the receiver “denies each allegation within the lawsuit.” On Twitter, Heitner stated “Brown will depart no stone unturned and can aggressively defend himself, together with exercising all of his rights in countersuits.”
Brown claims he was approached by Taylor in 2017, not the opposite method round, as Taylor alleges, after he signed a Steelers contract making him the highest-paid huge receiver within the NFL. Brown says Taylor requested him to speculate $1.6 million in her enterprise challenge after which minimize off communications when he refused her request.
Then, Brown says, Taylor contacted him in 2018 and supplied her coaching companies. Per Heitner’s assertion: “The accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual private relationship. Any sexual interplay with Mr. Brown was completely consensual. The accuser not solely traveled to Mr. Brown’s residences on a number of events, she traveled from Tennessee to Florida and returned at 2 a.m. to Mr. Brown’s residence ten days after the alleged assault. The accuser continued communications with Mr. Brown all through 2018, and even requested Mr. Brown for tickets to a Pittsburgh Steelers soccer sport within the winter of 2018.”
Brown claims he’s the sufferer of a “cash seize.” Heitner’s assertion says Taylor “has regularly posted images of Mr. Brown on her social media in an effort to financially profit from his superstar.”
As for the alleged rape in Could 2018, Brown claims the 2 had consensual intercourse:
“In Could 2018, Mr. Brown’s accuser invited herself to affix Mr. Brown and his buddies, who have been patrons at Miami grownup leisure golf equipment. After a number of hours of partying, Mr. Brown and his buddies known as it an evening. As a substitute of leaving by herself, as she had arrived, and returning to her lodge, Mr. Brown’s accuser solicited Mr. Brown to affix her and return to Mr. Brown’s residence the place the 2 engaged in consensual intercourse.”
In accordance with ESPN, Brown earlier than the lawsuit was filed refused to signal a settlement settlement that might have paid Taylor greater than $2 million to finish the declare. These settlement discussions started in April, in line with the report.
Will the NFL ultimately droop Antonio Brown?
In accordance with The Washington Publish, the NFL was giving “severe consideration” to inserting Brown on the commissioner exempt checklist whereas Brown was nonetheless a member of the Patriots. Goodell basically would have put Brown on momentary paid depart whereas the league accomplished its investigation into the accusations in opposition to him. Brown wouldn’t have been in a position to apply with the Patriots or play in video games whereas he was on the checklist.
Goodell can solely place Brown on the checklist if Brown is on an NFL roster.
The truth that Brown is accused in a civil lawsuit and never being charged with any crimes means there’s a decrease burden of proof on Taylor in court docket — “a preponderance of the proof” vs. “past an affordable doubt.” When it comes to potential self-discipline from the NFL, although, the league doesn’t must see prison costs or a conviction to maintain Brown off the sector if he indicators with one other crew.
In accordance with the league’s private conduct coverage, Goodell can place Brown on the commissioner exempt checklist if “an investigation leads the commissioner to consider participant could have violated” the coverage. Prohibited conduct within the coverage contains “assault and/or battery, together with sexual assault or different intercourse offenses.”
With a view to droop Brown because of its investigation, the NFL wants “credible proof” to determine that he violated the coverage. This may very well be tough. Once more, as a result of this can be a civil case fairly than a prison case, there’s a lesser burden of proof, and proof of a violation may very well be troublesome to reveal.
As a comparability, Sports activities Illustrated authorized analyst Michael McCann cited the NFL’s determination to droop Cowboys operating again Ezekiel Elliott for six video games in 2017 for home violence-related conduct “regardless of Elliott’s denial and questions on proof.” However, Chiefs huge receiver Tyreek Hill was not disciplined by the NFL this yr regardless of a verbal warning he directed at his fiancee that might have been deemed a violation of the coverage.
Taylor reportedly has cooperated with the NFL within the investigation. Brown reportedly was scheduled to be interviewed by the NFL as a part of the league’s investigation in mid-November.
As for Brown’s taking part in standing for the rest of the season, a placement on the commissioner exempt checklist could be indefinite. As of Nov. 7, the league’s investigation was “not anticipated to conclude anytime quickly,” per NFL Media. If the NFL in the end decides Brown violated the coverage by way of “sexual assault involving bodily pressure,” then the minimal suspension could be six video games with out pay.
Whereas Goodell has beforehand positioned gamers below investigation for prison acts on the checklist, it has by no means been used for a participant who’s a defendant in a civil swimsuit.
On Sept. 16, Sports activities Illustrated printed its findings after conducting interviews with former acquaintances of Brown and reviewing police and court docket paperwork. SI discovered a second girl has alleged sexual misconduct by Brown. In accordance with the report, Brown can also be accused in a number of lawsuits of failing to pay former staff.
By way of SI: “In complete, the tales of those that have encountered Brown paint a portrait of a famous person athlete residing a rockstar life-style, of a person who rose from poverty and anonymity in Miami to stardom and wealth on a nationwide stage, solely to make a behavior of insulting, attacking and betraying folks he noticed as being beneath his station.”
SI reported that the second accuser, whose identify has not been disclosed, acquired “threatening” textual content messages from Brown in response to SI’s preliminary report. The girl informed SI she acquired a gaggle textual content message that appeared to return from the identical cellphone quantity Brown offered to her in 2017. The textual content chain, with 4 different cellphone numbers on it, included images of her and her youngsters, with the particular person she believes is Brown encouraging others within the group to analyze the lady.
One of many girl’s legal professionals, Lisa J. Banks, wrote a letter to the NFL to tell it of the textual content messages. In accordance with The Boston Globe, Banks wrote that the lady “is understandably frightened by these textual content messages, that are clearly meant to threaten and intimidate her.”
The Patriots, who initially took a “wait and see” strategy and allowed the league to conduct its investigation, determined to chop Brown with the textual content messages reportedly being the explanation.