After the latest allegations against Antonio Brown – he reportedly contacted a woman who made an anonymous allegation of sexual impropriety against him in a Sports Illustrated story – the New England Patriots have released the wide receiver.
Brown effectively broke the news himself on Twitter, writing, “Thanks for the opportunity @Patriots #GoWinIt”.
A couple of minutes later, NFL Network confirmed the move.
The Patriots released a brief statement:
The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. 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.”
Earlier Friday when he met with media, Patriots coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick walked off the podium after around three minutes when he was peppered with questions about only Brown.
In his one game with New England, last Sunday in Miami, he recorded four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Financial impact of Antonio Brown getting cut
NBC Sports Boston reported on Friday morning that the there was a Monday deadline for the Patriots to pay Brown the first $5 million of his $9 million signing bonus.
Last week, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported that the language in Brown’s contract around his guaranteed money said that if the receiver “takes any action that materially undermines the public’s respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, the Player’s teammates or the Club’s ownership, coaches, management, operations, or policies” then all guarantees will be null and void.
Reaching out to an accuser to intimidate her likely fell under the umbrella of “materially undermining the public’s respect for” the Patriots.
Brown’s alleged group text message to accuser prompts action
On Thursday night, Sports Illustrated reporter Robert Klemko posted a story that he’d been contacted by an attorney for the artist who alleges that Brown made sexual advances toward her in 2017, including approaching her fully naked and with only a small towel covering his penis as she painted a mural in his Pittsburgh-area home.
In group text messages that include the woman, some Brown associates and his lawyer, Darren Heitner, Brown reportedly posts pictures of the woman’s children and her Instagram account, saying, “let’s look up her background history see how broke this girl is.”
The woman has not sought money from Brown, and in a letter to the NFL, her attorney Lisa J. Banks said she has no intention of seeking money from Brown for his alleged sexual misconduct.
The lawyer wrote to the league on her client’s behalf hoping to put an end to the text messages, “which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her.”
Incident with artist, personal trainer
The NFL responded to Banks’ letter within an hour of receiving it, arranging for a call between league investigators and the artist’s attorney.
Brown had become acquainted with the woman because she painted a portrait of him that was part of a charity auction; Brown, who agreed to take part in the auction and softball game benefitting National Youth Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based group, had topped the winning bidder in order to get the portrait of himself.
Then with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown approached the woman about painting a mural in his home; they agreed on a fee of $1,000 a day, and Brown sent a bus to New York City to bring her and some of his associates to Pittsburgh.
The woman said Brown began flirting with her on the first day she was there, but on the second day she alleges she turned around to find Brown standing behind her, naked save for the small hand towel.
She alleges Brown paid her for two days’ work but then “ghosted” her, ceasing further contact.
The National Youth Foundation said Brown has not paid the $700 he bid for the portrait of him at the auction two years ago.
On Sept. 10, a woman who had worked with Brown as a personal trainer filed a civil lawsuit against him in federal court, alleging that he forcibly raped her after two other incidents of sexual assault. The trainer stopped working with Brown after the first two incidents of alleged assault, but after several months he apologized and asked to work with her again; it was after that point he allegedly raped her.