New England Patriots Say They Weren’t Aware of the Rape & Sex Assault Allegations Against Antonio Brown Until They Were Reported in the Media

New England Patriots executives were blindsided by the rape allegations against newly acquired Antonio Brown, and claim they had no knowledge of the accusations until after they signed the wayward wide receiver to a one-year, $15 million deal on Saturday.

In a lawsuit, Brown is being accused of rape by his his ex-fitness instructor Britney Taylor, who claims he sexually assaulted her on three occasions in 2017 and 2018.

The Patriots only learned about the accusation on Tuesday night, when the lawsuit was made public, according to ESPN. In fact, the team was still celebrating the recent acquisition of Brown, an All-Pro, on Tuesday in the hours before the lawsuit came to light.

In fact, the team was so enthusiastic about Brown’s arrival that quarterback Tom Brady told owner Robert Kraft, ‘I’m a million percent in,’ according to NBC Sports’ Al Michaels.

In an interview with ESPN, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus declined to explain if he had discussed the allegations with the Patriots during their negotiations on Saturday.

However, Rosenhaus did say of the lawsuit that he had been ‘anticipating this possibility.’

Through his attorney, Brown has denied all allegations.

The NFL will investigate the allegations, and there remains a possibility Brown could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would leave him ineligible to play or even practice with his new team.

Taylor does plan on meeting with the NFL next week, but according to ESPN, she is getting married first.

On Saturday, Brown was released by the Oakland Raiders, who previously made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL by signing him to a three-year, $50 million deal after acquiring him in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last week, the Raiders voided the $30 million in guarantees in the deal after Brown confronted general manager Mike Mayock about fines incurred during his unexcused absences from Raiders training cap. He had been scheduled to play for the Raiders on Monday against the Denver Broncos, but was given his outright release on Saturday before signing with the Patriots hours later.

Now it is unclear if Brown will be able to play for New England on Sunday against the Dolphins in his native Miami.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team is taking the situation ‘very seriously,’ but did not make any further statements on the subject.

‘I appreciate all the questions,’ he said Wednesday. ‘But what’s been said has been said.’

‘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 Patriots said in a statement. ‘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.’

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Taylor says she was hired by Brown as a personal trainer in 2017 – alleging that first instance of sexual assault took place during a training session that June.