To coin terminology from another sport, looks like it was three strikes and Antonio Brown was out. The embattled wide receiver got cut by the New England Patriots Friday days after being accused of sexual misconduct by two women, including one who also said he sent her threatening text messages after her story was reported.
The Patriots, who had signed Brown to the team less than two weeks ago, said in a statement, according to ESPN:
“We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”
Brown, in a tweet, thanked the Patriots “for the opportunity.”
Brown got the boot days after Britney Taylor, who once worked as his trainer, appeared at NFL headquarters on Monday to discuss details regarding the explosive civil suit she filed against him Sept. 10, a day after he was signed to the Patriots.
In her lawsuit, Taylor alleged Brown “forcibly” raped her in May 2018, as well as made unwanted sexual advances on two earlier occasions.
On the same day Taylor spoke with the NFL, Brown faced accusations from a second woman. This time, an artist he had hired in 2017 to paint murals in his Pennsylvania home, said that he’d made unwanted sexual advances toward her while she was working for him, and then fired her after she rebuffed him.
Then, just two days after Sports Illustrated broke her story, the artist, who’s requested anonymity, accused Brown anew, saying that on Wednesday night, she received what she considered to be threatening text messages from him, messages that referenced both herself and her children.
The woman previously told SI that Brown had hired her two years ago to paint a mural of him in his home but “ghosted” her after she ignored his advance. On Wednesday night, the woman says, she received a group text message that appeared to come from the same phone number Brown provided to her in 2017. The text chain, with four other phone numbers on it, included photos of her and her children, with the person she believes is Brown encouraging others in the group to investigate the woman. The texter accused the artist of fabricating her account of the 2017 incident for cash. (In her letter to the league, the woman’s attorney repeated that the artist is not seeking remuneration from Brown in connection with the alleged incident.)
From that point, things moved swiftly, SI reports, with the woman’s lawyer sending a letter to the NFL demanding that it take action against Brown:
On Thursday evening, Lisa J. Banks, a lawyer for the artist, sent a letter to the NFL seeking an end to what she termed conduct by Brown that is “intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.”
“Our client ... is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her,” the lawyer wrote. “While she certainly qualifies as a ‘starving artist,’ she has never approached Mr. Brown, nor will she, about seeking money to compensate her for his sexual misconduct, contrary to his allegations in the text messages.”
Sports Illustrated, citing a source, reports, “the NFL responded to the letter within the hour, arranging for a phone call between investigators and the attorneys for the artist.”
The next day, Friday, the Patriots parted ways with Brown.
Brown, through his lawyer, Darren Heitner, has denied all the allegations made by Taylor, his former trainer.
Regarding the artist’s allegations of being threatened by Brown, Sports Illustrated sent a text to the number purported to be Brown’s seeking comment and reports it got the following response: “foh clown”—translation, “get the fuck outta here clown.”
In addition, when asked about the artist’s allegations against his client, Brown’s lawyer Heitner—whom Sports Illustrated reports was included in what was a group text message to the woman—would only say that “he had not advised Brown to communicate with the woman. He otherwise declined comment.”