The Slatest

New England Patriots’ Antonio Brown Accused of Sexual Assault and Rape by Former Trainer

Antonio Brown stretches on field in a Raiders jersey.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, then of the Oakland Raiders, before a preseason game in Arizona on Aug. 15.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A former trainer accused newly signed New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown of multiple instances of sexual assault and rape in a federal civil lawsuit filed Tuesday. The suit was brought by Britney Taylor, who says she first met Brown in Bible study while they were both in college at Central Michigan and later was hired to be the All-Pro’s trainer. According to the suit, the 31-year-old Brown sexually assaulted the 28-year-old trainer on three separate instances over the course of a year from June 2017 to May 2018. A lawyer for Brown said the receiver “denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit” and that “any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”

The suit details three incidents where Brown initiated unwanted sexual advances, beginning in June 2017 with Brown allegedly exposing himself to Taylor during a training session and kissing her without consent. During a workout later that month, Taylor says Brown “began masturbating near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back.” According to the suit, Taylor then severed her working relationship with the NFL star, but nearly a year later a contrite Brown convinced her to resume their professional relationship with the promise there would be no further sexual advances. In May 2018, however, “Brown cornered Ms. Taylor, forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcibly raped her,” according to the suit. Taylor says Brown overpowered her as she resisted throughout, shouting “no” and “stop.”

Brown’s lawyer characterized the allegations as a financial ploy stemming from a relationship initiated by Taylor after Brown signed a contract making him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. It’s unclear if Taylor reported the allegations to authorities, but the suit says she told at least three people about the encounters: her mother, whom Taylor called immediately after the incident; Brown’s personal chef whom she had befriended; and a leader at her church, who counseled her to come forward.

The Patriots said in a statement Tuesday that the NFL would conduct its own investigation into the allegations leveled against one of the league’s most controversial players. The NFL’s personal conduct policy, however, allows commissioner Roger Goodell to discipline players irrespective of how a formal legal proceeding rules.