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Antonio Brown accused of sexual assault

by Kari Ashworth - News Editor
Tue, Sep 17th 2019 09:00 pm
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (above), is facing allegations
after being accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer Britney Taylor.
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (above), is facing allegations after being accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer Britney Taylor.

 National Football League (NFL) wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of sexual assault by Britney Taylor, a woman who worked as his trainer. The federal lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Southern District of Florida, just a day after Brown was picked up by the New England Patriots. 

Brown and Taylor met as Bible study partners at Central Michigan University, and the two stayed in contact after Brown was drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, according to The New York Times. 

The lawsuit alleges Brown sexually assaulted Taylor on three separate occasions. Two of the incidents occurred in June and July of 2017 and the other occurred in May 2018. 

According to ESPN, “the first alleged incident was in June 2017; Taylor says Brown exposed himself and kissed her without consent at one of his Pittsburgh-area homes.” The second incident occurred a month later at Brown’s home in Miami, FL and he later bragged about what happened in a series of text messages. The third incident was on May 20, 2018, in Miami, where Taylor alleges Brown raped her. 

Taylor allegedly ended her working relationship with Brown after the second incident, but relented several months later after he contacted her to apologize. In the lawsuit she stated she was “swayed by his assurance that he would cease any sexual advances.” 

According to The New York Times, “the lawsuit says that Taylor told at least three people about the incidents: her mother, Brown’s chef and a member of her church, who advised her to come forward.” It is unclear at the moment if Taylor reported the incidents to the police. 

In a statement released by her lawyer, Taylor said, “As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision. I have found strength in my faith, my family and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.” Taylor has also agreed to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation of the allegations. 

The New England Patriots have released a statement on Tuesday, saying “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 ESPN, the NFL began its investigation into the allegations on Wednesday, Sept. 11, there is no set timetable for completion. Taylor is planning on meeting with the NFL next week. 

Brown’s memory of the events are different. According to NBC Sports, Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, released a detailed statement that admitted to the existence of a relationship between him and Taylor but denied any wrongdoing on Brown’s behalf. The statement also called the lawsuit a “money grab.” 

“He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but also to protect other professional athletes against false accusations,” Heitner said. 

According to Heitner, Taylor is attempting to fund a business project by seeking $1.6 million in the lawsuit. 

“When Mr. Brown refused to make the $1.6 million ‘investment,’ the accuser supposedly cut off communication with Mr. Brown,” Heitner contends. “However, in 2018, the accuser resurfaced and offered to travel to Pennsylvania and South Florida to train Mr. Brown for the upcoming season. Thereafter, the accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual personal relationship. Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.” 

He further went on to say Taylor has continued to use Brown for personal gain on her social media accounts, even after the alleged rape in May 2018. 

According to NBC Sports, the lawsuit will likely be focused on Brown’s and Taylor’s credibility, as it is clear they knew each other prior to the allegations in question. 

“While third-party witnesses and circumstantial evidence may tip the scales one way or the other, this one will (barring a settlement) boil down to whether a jury believes him or believes her,” NBC Sports wrote. 

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, as Brown has already said he would be taking legal action of his own. Regardless of his fame, I believe we should still take Taylor’s claims into consideration and forego the “innocent until proven guilty” motto. It may not be proven, but the fact of the matter is that it is much harder for someone to prove they were sexually assaulted, especially when the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. 

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