Brown let go from Patriots after sexual assault accusations

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:17 AM

Antonio Brown has been in the news for most of the year. Previously known for being one of the best wide receivers of his time in the NFL, he’s now out of the league, has been on three teams in 12 months and faces possible legal trouble.

But first, let’s go back.

Before leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown made his mark on the record book. In 2017, Brown held the record for most catches and receiving yards over a five-year span — starting in 2013, he had 596 total catches and 7,611 yards. He also held two Guinness World Records: the most one-handed catches and the other for catching a football dropped from a drone 360 feet in the air.

Before Brown left the Steelers in March 2019, he still had an ongoing three-year contract with them amounting to $39 million. When Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders, he received $29 million in guaranteed money, a figure that would be voided after a months-long saga.

In May 2019, a new helmet rule rendered Brown’s longtime helmet illegal to use. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment had deemed the helmet Brown used to be too old.

The new regulation made the wide receiver angry. Brown even began to openly fight with coaches and management. Brown used the Schutt Air Advantage football helmet for his whole career, even dating back to his youth football years. It is so old that the manufacturing of the helmet was discontinued in 2014. Brown felt safe in the Schutt Air helmet and thought it gave him the best vision on the field. It was the first of many openly rebellious actions Brown would commit.

In July, Brown was placed on the non-football injury list after a disastrous cryotherapy session. Brown was not wearing proper footwear to protect his feet and received severe frostbite. During this time, rumors of Brown began to spread, claiming that he “ghosted” the Raiders. Brown barely communicated his injury status to his coaches.

At this time, the helmet issue flared up once again. Brown began threatening to never play football with the Raiders. The $50 million contract was starting to look like a bad decision.

After finding a helmet Brown was satisfied with, it felt like the trouble might finally end. Unfortunately, he had a disagreement with the general manager, which led to a potential suspension.

Even after a public apology, Brown’s time with the Raiders seemed to be ending. Soon after, Brown finally issued a statement on social media that included: “release me.” Having already had that guaranteed pay voided because of “conduct detrimental to the team,” the Raiders cut him. That same day, the New England Patriots signed him to a 1-year contract, which included the possibility of more guaranteed money.

But again, it was not long until another issue came up.

Britney Taylor, a trainer who formerly worked with Brown, accused him of sexual assault and rape. Brown fought back by releasing a statement denying the allegations, and meanwhile, the NFL pushed forward to investigate the charges.

Even with all this controversy, Brown got on the field with the Patriots for Week 2, even scoring a touchdown.

On Sept. 20, Brown was officially released from the Patriots. The team just could not take it anymore. The drama was so bad that Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick had to leave his press conference early due to too many Brown questions.

So, what will happen to Antonio Brown? It may be a long time before he gets to play again, if he ever does. He’s still being accused of sexual assault, with additional accusations surfacing through an extensive Sports Illustrated story. This also brings up another question: should Brown have been allowed to play the one game he played? He likely played because the NFL had no idea what to do with him and didn’t process the severity of the accusations quickly enough. But, history shows they have suspended NFL figures due to accusations.

In December of 2017, Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor were all suspended “pending an investigation” due to a sexual assault allegation. What makes Antonio Brown any different? Is it because they were not current players and only analysts for the league?

I believe this will be a long, drawn-out case. There may be more sexual assault accusations that arise from this. Even then, Brown may still be allowed to play. The NFL should suspend him for the time being until more definitive evidence comes to light, however, I doubt Brown will ever be able to play again.

Antonio Brown’s legacy only a year ago was a dream. He had a rough childhood, was one of the best ever to play that position and had a multi-million dollar career. Working through a loss of a father and being homeless, Brown fought through the challenges and made something of himself, but it’s clear that pride, greed and perhaps more got the best of him.

Tags: sports, opinion

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