The world learned about Britney Taylor’s lawsuit against Antonio Brown on September 10, 2019, but a new report says the NFL player and his former trainer were in settlement talks before that time.
That was apparently news to the New England Patriots and Robert Kraft. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington is reporting that Brown ultimately rejected a $2 million settlement offer from Taylor. He said the failed settlement talks involved two attempts at mediation.
The report came from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who also reported that Taylor will meet with the NFL on Monday, September 16, 2019, as part of the League’s investigation into her accusations against the New England Patriots wide receiver. Rapoport wrote that the League wants to “ramp up the investigation as quickly as possible” since games occur every week. He reported, through sources, that Robert Kraft wouldn’t have signed Brown if he knew about the issue. On Twitter, Rapoport wrote that the League was expected to “fast-track its investigation” into Taylor’s sexual assault accusations against Brown. Rapoport wrote that the settlement talks between Brown and Taylor went on “for months” and were confidential.
Taylor accused Brown of raping her in the federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida. In it, Taylor described three incidents in which she says Brown sexually assaulted her and forced her to have sexual intercourse. The NFL player has adamantly denied the accusations; the NFL is investigating. It’s not unusual for settlement talks to occur in advance of (or after) lawsuits are filed, but Rapoport’s report wasn’t known before in the case of Brown and Taylor.
Brown is expected to play for the Patriots on Sunday, September 15, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know:
Brown Hasn’t Been Placed on the Exempt List
The NFL hasn’t used one tool at its disposal in the wake of the accusations – putting Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. According to WCVB-TV, the reason is that there is no criminal investigation into Brown. The exempt list allows the commissioner to keep a player off the field while such allegations are investigated.
As for a criminal investigation into Brown, Heavy reached out to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, but received initially contradictory statements.
District Attorney Zappala released a statement clarifying earlier comments about Antonio Brown. Here’s what the statement read:
“The incident that District Attorney Zappala referenced earlier today involving Northern Regional Police Department contacting our office concerning Antonio Brown did not involve the incident mentioned in the federal lawsuit that has been filed. That contact instead involved a conversation that our office had with Northern Regional Police Department concerning a possible child endangerment situation involving Mr. Brown. The result of that conversation was a decision that we could not move forward with investigating that claim. Neither Northern Regional Police Department nor our office was ever contacted about the 2017 event that is contained in the federal lawsuit.”
Heavy inquired of the DA’s spokesman whether the child endangerment accusation was the highly publicized one in which Brown was accused in 2018 of throwing furniture off a 14th story apartment balcony, endangering a child.
“It’s not that and I’m not going to comment any further,” Mike Manko, the spokesman for the Allegheny County DA, responded to Heavy. Heavy asked the Northern Regional Police Department for additional details, but the police chief didn’t return an email asking for comment.
Manko also wrote Heavy: “The DA wanted me to pass along the following concerning the soundbite where he refers to ‘reviewing the federal lawsuit.'”
That quote says: “There is nothing extraordinary about doing that. This office, as a matter of course, will review information in a federal lawsuit whenever that information references potential criminal activity, even if that activity had not been previously known to law enforcement. Another example of this would be a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against a police officer or department alleging behavior on the part of the officer or the department that was not previously known.”
The Lawsuit Accuses Brown of Sexually Assaulting Taylor in Three Incidents But He Adamantly Denies It All
The lawsuit accuses Brown of sexually assaulting Taylor twice in June 2017 when they were together for training sessions. It alleges that Brown “exposed himself and kissed Ms. Taylor without her consent,” and then, later that month, “while positioned behind Ms. Taylor, began masturbating near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back.”
The lawsuit claims she “felt a wet spot soak through her clothing” and that “later, in astonishingly profane and angry text messages, Brown bragged about the incident to her.” She cut off her working relationship with Brown because she was “shocked and deeply embarrassed,” the lawsuit says. Several months later, Brown reached out to Taylor, begging her for forgiveness and pleading her to train him again but on May 20, 2018, the lawsuit says he “cornered Ms. Taylor, forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcibly raped her.” She “screamed and cried throughout the entire rape,” shouting no and stop, but Brown was “too strong and physically overpowered her,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit can be read in full here. Taylor is a 28-year-old gymnast from Memphis. She first met Brown at Central Michigan University in a bible studies group.
She says he reached back out on social media in 2013, asking her to send a picture of herself and was unhappy when she only sent him a picture of her face. Brown’s lawyer says in a statement that “Mr. Brown’s accuser has continually posted photographs of Mr. Brown on her social media in an effort to financially benefit from his celebrity” and says that the two “engaged in consensual sex.” The NFL is investigating the accusations; meanwhile, Brown has already lost a helmet company endorsement.
According to the lawsuit, on May 20, 2018, Brown, Taylor, another football player and friends went to a club and then she drove the two men back to Brown’s home. She went into his home to use the restroom and grab food from the kitchen. He “cornered her and pulled her down on the bed on her stomach, pushing her face down into the mattress,” the lawsuit alleges. He told her “you know you want this” and raped her, according to the lawsuit. She told Brown they “needed to talk about last night,” and he replied “you made me feel like a real rapist,” the suit alleges. She stopped working for Brown. The lawsuit says she passed a polygraph.
Brown’s attorney has written a statement saying that Brown denies the accusations.
“Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit. He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations. Mr. Brown was approached by his accuser in 2017, shortly after Mr. Brown signed a contract making him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL,” it says.
“At that time, Mr. Brown was asked to invest $1.6 million in the accuser’s business project. Mr. Brown was not informed by his accuser that she had just been levied with a $30K IRS tax lien or that $300K of the $1.6 million so called “investment” was to be used to purchase property already owned by the accuser and her mother.”