The New England Patriots would not have signed Antonio Brown if they had known of the rape allegations against him, according to reports.
Wide receiver Brown was accused on Tuesday of raping and sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, between 2017 and 2018. Taylor has also filed a civil suit against Brown and is due to meet with the NFL on Monday.
The 31-year-old signed with the Patriots days earlier, on September 7, in a deal worth $15 million and just hours after he made a controversial exit from the Oakland Raiders.
He scored his first touchdown for the Patriots against the Dolphins on Sunday after signing the reported one-year deal that includes a $9 million signing bonus and a $20 million team option for 2020.
But had the Patriots known of the accusations being leveled at him owner Robert Kraft would not have given the go ahead for his signing, NFL.com reports. It is understood the league were also not aware of the claims.
Accuser Taylor, 28, has reportedly provided information to the league in advance of her Monday meeting with them and has no expectation of Brown or his representatives being there, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Brown participated in practices this week with the Patriots after being released last weekend by the Oakland Raiders and was pictured arriving in Miami by private jet wearing a Gucci suit and sunglasses.
It is understood representatives for Brown and Taylor had decided to not reveal any details of the suit until it was filed, despite being in discussions for months.
Brown is also reported to have refused to sign a $2 million settlement with Taylor, missing the deadline last Sunday with his Patriots deal finalized on Monday.
The suit was filed Tuesday and in a live video broadcasted on Thursday evening from teammate Tom Brady’s TB12 Sports Therapy Center, Brown didn’t reference his accuser directly but did appear to loosely reference the allegations and reiterate his innocence.
‘No matter what they say, no matter what they hate, somebody’s still gotta work,’ Brown told the some 16,000 followers watching the stream.
‘In the time of crisis, all I ask is love, dedication and focus. The devil is going to try to bring you down when you get closer to your goals.
‘The key is: don’t let him.’
Brown’s former stepfather said: ‘I can’t tell you that he did what they said he did. ‘But I know he’s very abusive to women.
‘As far as just raping somebody, (Brown) just feels like he can have whatever he wants. He’s just empowered that way. So it doesn’t surprise me that this kind of allegation came out about him.’
Brown’s younger brother Desmond said he and Antonio Brown had to intervene in physical altercations between their mother, Adrianne Moss, and Larry Moss.
‘Sometimes we’d have to get physical with him, too,’ Desmond Brown, 29, told USA TODAY Sports by text message.
Moss denied Desmond Brown’s allegations. He claimed he had just one physical altercation during their marriage that lasted about 20 years.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Wednesday afternoon that his office will ‘take a look’ into claims that Brown sexually assaulted his former fitness instructor Britney Taylor on three occasions between 2017 and 2018.
Zappala’s office released a statement saying: ‘This office, as a matter of course, will review information in a federal lawsuit whenever that information references potential criminal activity, even if that activity had not been previously known to law enforcement.’
In her lawsuit, Taylor says Brown ‘preyed’ on her ‘kindness’ and ‘religious devotion’ by pretending to share her faith.
In her statement through her attorney, she told DailyMail.com: ‘As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision.’
She was hired by Brown as a personal trainer in 2017 – alleging the first rape to have taken place in during a training session in June that year.
Taylor, a gymnast who first met Brown while they were both studying at Central Michigan University, says the 31-year-old ‘exposed himself and kissed [her] without consent,’ according to documents obtained by DailyMail.com.
She also described a second alleged incident ‘later that same month’, in which Brown is said to have stood behind her with she was watching television, masturbated without her knowledge and then ‘ejaculated on her back’.
She says she phoned her mother who told her immediately to leave and also told his chef. She claims that shortly afterwards, Brown fired her.
He then sent ‘profane and angry messages’ where he mentioned the masturbation and called her a ‘failed gymnast’ who was trying to extort him.
In February 2018, she says he got back in touch to ask her to work for him again, saying she had a ‘great heart’ and ‘cared’ about him unlike others in his circle.
She claims she ignored his first message.
He then sent another message in March, she says, asking her if she hated him and apologizing.
‘I apologize first off with so much going on around me and my actions,’ he allegedly wrote.
She agreed to go back to work with him, she claims, on the condition that he had promised things would be different. She says she demanded that he stop flirting with her and book her hotel rooms whenever she traveled to work with him.
He agreed and they resumed working together in April 2018, she says.
Taylor claims that at the time, Brown’s life was spiraling into ‘chaos’.
Her role turned into one of an assistant and she was tasked with booking flights for him, keeping his travel schedule and ‘making sure he arrived at sponsored events on time’, even ‘babysitting his children.’
On May 20, 2018, she claims he raped her after a night out in Miami.
Brown’s lawyer Darren Heitner tweeted a statement out on behalf of Brown on Tuesday evening, saying that his client ‘denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit’.
He said: ‘Mr. Brown, whose hard work and dedication to his craft has allowed him to rise to the top of his profession, refuses to be the victim of what he believes to be a money grab.’
In a later message, he added his client ‘will leave no stone unturned and will aggressively defend himself, including exercising all of his rights in countersuits.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Lauren Fruen