FOXBOROUGH – Antonio Brown has only been officially Patriot for three days, and before he stepped onto the field for the first time, he caused a distraction.
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On Tuesday, just over 24 hours after he officially became a member of the Patriots organization, Florida filed a civil suit in which Brown was accused of sexually abusing a woman he met in Central Michigan to have raped. Years later, he was hired as his personal trainer.
Obviously, this is a pretty big deal coming out a few days after signing a contract with a new team, including guarantees of $ 1
The biggest question of all seems to be whether the Patriots were aware of the potential of a lawsuit when they agreed to settle with him on Saturday afternoon, just hours after his release by the Raiders.
"I would like to think that if they knew it would happen – sexual assault, rape allegations, things like that – they would not have contracted Antonio Brown," said former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday
] According to IAP Rapoport of NFL Media, both the Patriots and the NFL did not know the potential of the lawsuit before it was released on Tuesday. It gets confusing and it's not that great for the Patriots.
From what we know now, they probably should have known – or at least not be completely unprepared, they say.
Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus went to ESPN on Wednesday afternoon and the first thing he said was that he and Brown had known for a while that the potential for action was there. It is worth considering whether Rosenhaus, as an agent, is responsible for communicating this to the team, as his main goal is to sign his client and make the most money.
But what about the story that Rosenhaus and the patriots have a good working relationship? If that were the case, would not he bother them? Even though he said his client did not do anything wrong and it was a "robbery", as Brown's legal representative and Rosenhaus said Saturday. He was released shortly before noon and four hours later he agreed to become a patriot. There was no personal meeting between Brown and anyone from the Patriots organization, which is a little puzzling given the events in Oakland.
Would not anyone from Team Brown personally want to see and ask a few questions about what happened in Oakland to check his point of view and make sure he's not getting out of hand? It is unlikely that Brown would have revealed the potential of a lawsuit, but after all that has happened in recent weeks without a personal meeting, signing up for him does not seem like a proper business.
Perhaps it was a case in which Bill Belichick and the organization were so in love with a player like Brown, who had wanted to be available to the Steelers since his time, that they only wanted to get him aboard as quickly as possible.
Again, not good business practice.
After all, the potential of this lawsuit was already public on Saturday morning. A Twitter user, @IncarceratedBob, posted a video showing Brown's Instagram direct messages from someone who alerted the broad receiver to what his prosecutor was about to do.
We all know that Belichick is not on social media, but he does not have to be to figure it out. The Patriots organization has a security team and it is their job to perform background checks on players, reviews, etc. This could have been found with a simple Twitter search.
Although it does not seem necessary to have 10 million dollars spent, should not every one of them be punctured and every T crossed? You'd think so, but it does not seem like it's Brown.
The allegations against Brown are very serious, as captains Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty have alluded to when talking in the locker room on Wednesday afternoon. Belichick also noted this in his press conference on Wednesday morning, while he included everyone in the building.
"We take it all the way through the organization very seriously," he said.
This shows that the property is now involved and it's not just Belichick and Football Ops.
Everything can happen at this time when it comes to Brown.
Nothing else could come out and he could play in all 15 remaining games. He could play Sunday in Miami and then other things could cause him to be suspended or released. He could now even be placed on the commissioner's list of exemptions while the NFL is investigating, implying that he is not entitled to play or practice. Everything seems to be on the table.
While the Patriots certainly did not expect rape allegations to appear when they signed Brown, their recent behavior made them realize they might be distracted at any moment.
It remains to be seen how this will ultimately turn out, but it seems that more could be done before the Patriots pledged US $ 10 million in guarantees.
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