KUNM

New England Patriots Antonio Brown Accused Of Rape In A Lawsuit

Sep 11, 2019
Originally published on September 11, 2019 6:03 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of rape in a federal lawsuit in Florida. From member station WGBH in Boston, Esteban Bustillos has more.

ESTEBAN BUSTILLOS, BYLINE: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known for his short, to-the-point answers when it comes to dealing with the press. Earlier today, the coach held his first media availability since the story broke last night. Star receiver Antonio Brown, who the team acquired earlier this week, is being accused of raping his former trainer in a civil lawsuit. Belichick answers were even more terse than usual.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Bill, were you aware of the lawsuit when you signed Antonio Brown?

BILL BELICHICK: I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Don't you think the fans deserve to hear a little more from on...

BELICHICK: When we know more, we'll say more.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: ...Such a major development that, you know, could impact the team?

BELICHICK: Yeah, I just said that.

BUSTILLOS: The whole thing lasted less than four minutes. It's the latest troubling incident for a team that prides itself on toning down on distractions and doing your job. Last month, safety Patrick Chung was indicted on charges of cocaine possession in New Hampshire. And earlier this year, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution in South Florida.

The details in this case, which is civil and not criminal, are disturbing. Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor, claims he sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and raped her last year. The two first met as college students at Central Michigan University. Brown hasn't spoken yet, but earlier today on ESPN, Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, came to his client's defense.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DREW ROSENHAUS: These allegations are false. He denies every one of them.

BUSTILLOS: What happens now is murky. In a statement, the Patriots said the league is investigating the allegations. And the Washington Post reports that the NFL is considering placing Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, which would essentially put him on paid leave. A spokesperson for the NFL Players Association wouldn't comment on the case but said that a player can challenge that designation. Brown did practice with the team for the first time today, but Bill Belichick was mum with reporters on if he'll suit up for the next game.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Are you preparing for him to play on Sunday?

BELICHICK: We're taking it one day at a time.

BUSTILLOS: The Patriots will head to Miami for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

For NPR News, I'm Esteban Bustillos in Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.