The New England Patriots’ signing of controversial receiver Antonio Brown may have got a bit more obscure on Tuesday when The New York Times reported Brown was accused of raping his former trainer.
A lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, alleges Brown sexually assaulted and forced himself on his former trainer, Britney Taylor. Brown and Taylor met while both were attending Central Michigan University. Brown later hired Taylor as his trainer.
According to the lawsuit, Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions, two of which came during training sessions in June 2017. In the first incident, Brown exposed himself and kissed Taylor without permission. Later in the month, Brown started masturbating near Taylor and ejaculated on her back while she was watching TV at his home, the lawsuit states.
Taylor cut off communication with Brown for a short period of time.
The third incident occurred in May 2018 as Brown cornered Taylor, "forced her onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress and forcibly raped her," the lawsuit states. The lawsuit continues to say that Taylor tried to resist Brown, but "Brown refused and penetrated her."
The New York Times received a statement from Taylor’s lawyer.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” the statement read. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
Brown’s legal team released a statement on Tuesday night denying the allegations.
“Antonio Brown learned today (Tuesday) that he has been named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the South District of Florida,” a statement from Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, read.
“Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit. He (Brown) will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
The statement on Brown’s behalf went on to say “the accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual personal relationship. Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”
Brown was officially signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Monday. He signed a one-year contract worth up to $15 million with the team.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots were caught by surprise when they learned of the lawsuit. The team released the following statement just before midnight on Tuesday:
"We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio's representatives. 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 signed with the Patriots following a release by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday after he had clashed with the team throughout training camp, including an incident with General Manager Mike Mayock in which Brown threatened him.