New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly would have nixed Antonio Brown signing if rape allegations were previously known to public.
According to a report from NBC Sports’ Alex Didion, NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport cited sources familiar with New England owner Robert Kraft’s line of thinking in stating that the Patriots would never have signed receiver Antonio Brown if the rape allegations against him were public knowledge.
There was speculation – and concern – amongst NFL fans that the Patriots may have been aware of the pending sexual assault accusations against Brown when they decided to sign him to their team over the opening weekend of the regular season. Those fears were at least partially allayed when a report came out earlier this week that neither New England nor Oakland could have known about the civil suit, as both Brown and his accuser had signed a confidentiality agreement related to their ongoing discussions.
Another report came out on Sunday that suggested Brown could have settled with his former athletic trainer, Britney Taylor, for approximately $2 million to bury the civil suit and prevent it from getting filed in court. Brown reportedly declined the deal before last Sunday night’s deadline to settle, leading Taylor and her legal team to file the suit in a South Florida court on Tuesday.
The NFL had the option of putting Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list this week – which would have kept him from making his debut with the Pats against the Dolphins – but decided to forgo making any such decisions or a final ruling until completing an investigation into the matter. The league will reportedly meet with Taylor on Monday; her team has submitted evidence and materials ahead of their consultation to the NFL offices for review, as well.
It’s unknown when the NFL plans to meet with Brown and his legal team to hear his side of the case.
From the football side of things, Brown did finally make his long-awaited debut on the field in 2019. He caught four passes on eight targets from quarterback Tom Brady for 56 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Despite playing limited snaps, Brown still finished as the Patriots’ leading receiver on the day.
New England defeated Miami 43-0 in the most lopsided Patriots win in the history of the series between these two AFC East foes.