WARNING: This story contains explicit descriptions of rape and sexual assault; the information may be triggering for survivors of sexual violence.
UPDATED 9/11 at 12:00 p.m. ET: Hollywood Unlocked obtained footage of Brown and Taylor sharing time together prior to her lawsuit. It is unclear when these clips were captured.
UPDATED 9/11 at 10:00 a.m. ET: Per NFL guidelines, commissioner Roger Goodell has the final verdict on what actions the league will take against Antonio Brown. Although it's still unclear on how he will handle the situation, NFL insiders told the Washington Post that Goodell is leaning towards placing Brown on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Here's how the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual describes the list:
The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.
If he's placed on the Exempt List, Brown will continue to receive pay while the NFL investigates the matter in question, but will not be eligible to make his debut as a Patriot until Goodell reaches a decision.
See original story below.
NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of raping his former trainer, according to a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida.
According to legal documents obtained by the New York Times, Britney Taylor claims Brown sexually assaulted her during three separate encounters over the past two years. The first incident allegedly occurred in June 2017, when he exposed himself and kissed Taylor without consent during a training session. Taylor, who met Brown while he was attending Central Michigan, says the second assault took place later that month, while she was at his Miami home. The plaintiff claims she was watching a church service on her iPad when, unbeknownst to her, Brown began masturbating near her and ejaculated on her back. Taylor said she expressed disgust after realizing what had happened. The lawsuit states Brown was unfazed by her reaction and simply said, "Oh 'B' .. .you know, I'm sorry," before leaving the room. The former Raider allegedly bragged about the incident in "profane text messages" included in the suit.
Taylor says she ended her working relationship with Brown after the first two assaults; however, she agreed to continue working with Brown several months later, after he assured her the misconduct would stop. "Brown's assurances proved false," the lawsuit states.
In May 2018, Brown allegedly forced Taylor onto a bed and raped her in his Miami home. The lawsuit states Taylor attempted to resist him, but he "was too strong and physically overpowered her. She screamed and cried throughout the entire rape, repeatedly shouting 'no' and 'stop.'"
Per the lawsuit:
When Brown finally released her, Ms. Taylor stood up in a state of trauma and shock, crying in front of him. Devastated and disoriented, she ran into his foyer and collapsed on the ground. No one came to her rescue or to help her in any way. She was completely alone. Eventually she summoned the strength to pick herself off the floor, make it to the door, get into her car and drive—dazed and emotionally shattered—to her hotel.
Taylor returned to Brown's home the following morning to pick up her belongings before flying back to her hometown of Memphis. When she arrived at the residence, the 28-year-old approached the athlete, telling him they "needed to talk about last night." Brown allegedly responded: "You made me feel like a real rapist."
The plaintiff says she hasn't worked for Brown since.
According to the lawsuit, Taylor attempted to mentally block out the assaults for months; however, the trauma became so overwhelming she began to suffer "near-daily panic attacks, frequent suicidal ideations, and insomnia." She allegedly reported the incidents to the Time's Up organization without naming her assailant. She say she does not know if her message reached the organization.
The suit goes on to say that the assault has severely impacted all aspects of Taylor's personal and professional life. She says she has struggled to go into work and has experienced difficulties in her relationship with her fiancé, who proposed just two weeks after the alleged rape occurred. It reportedly took months for Taylor to tell her partner what had happened, "and that disclosure put a serious strain on their relationship."
Taylor is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Brown for his "brutal and sadistic misconduct," which have caused "physical injuries, pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, and emotional pain and suffering."
She said, as the NFL reports, "As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision." Taylor continued, "I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault. Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape."
Brown's attorney, Darren Heitner, has denied the allegations in a statement. "Antonio Brown will leave no stone unturned and will aggressively defend himself, including exercising all of his rights in countersuits," Heitner wrote.
Antonio Brown will leave no stone unturned and will aggressively defend himself, including exercising all of his rights in countersuits.— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) September 11, 2019
The Patriots also released a statement on the allegations. "We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representatives," the statement reads. "We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place." Brown just inked a 1-year deal with the team worth a maximum of $15 million.
Patriots statement on Antonio Brown allegations: pic.twitter.com/jIp2pisvZD— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) September 11, 2019