The New England Patriots’ newest addition, star wide receiver Antonio Brown, was named as the defendant in a sexual assault lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
Britney Taylor was a former gymnast at Central Michigan University, where she met Brown as college students. Taylor and Brown reportedly met at a bible-study group and became friends during their time in school together between 2007 and 2009.
According to the lawsuit, which was submitted Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, they then lost contact until the summer of 2017. Brown hired her in June of that year to help him with physical training, and allegedly committed at least three separate unwanted personal advances on Taylor, including exposing himself to her, kissing her, and then masturbating and ejaculating on her back, all without Taylor’s consent.
Taylor also alleges that Brown forcibly raped her in May of the following year (2018).
Since then, Taylor has been suffering “near-daily panic attacks and suicidal ideations,” per the lawsuit. While she acknowledged that deciding to speak out against Brown now was “an incredibly difficult decision,” she claims she now has the strength to do so because of her “faith,” “family,” and the inspiration she drew from “the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
While neither Brown, the Patriots, nor the NFL had any immediate comment on the matter late Tuesday night after the story broke, Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, released an official statement denying “each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” and referred to the whole enterprise as “a money grab.”
In Heitner’s statement, the timeline of events and nature of Brown and Taylor’s relationship is significantly different than from what is portrayed in the lawsuit. Heitner and Brown detail several alleged instances in which Taylor attempted to extort money or other gifts from Brown.
Notably, they make no attempts in the statement to deny the personal and sexual nature of the relationship between Brown and Taylor in 2018, though they do specify that it was a “consensual” relationship.
There is no reference to the initial incidents from 2017 documented in Taylor’s lawsuit filing.
This developing story is the latest installment in what has been one of the most dramatic and news-filled cycles for a single NFL player ever – particularly considering that player (Brown) still has yet to even take the football field. After a short and contentious stint with the Oakland Raiders this offseason, Brown was released and signed with the New England Patriots over the opening weekend of the 2019 season.