Antonio Brown dismisses rape allegations as ‘money grab’
Antonio Brown’s camp on Tuesday night dismissed a federal lawsuit accusing the former Steelers wide receiver of rape as a “money grab” by a former trainer seeking to financially benefit “from his celebrity.”
The lawsuit filed against the freshly signed New England Patriot earlier in the day by Britney Taylor — a former gymnast, college friend and trainer of Brown’s — cited three incidents of sexual assault or rape during 2017 and 2018, the New York Times reports. The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida, where Brown lives.
Brown, 31, “denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” Darren Heitner, attorney for Brown, said in a statement.
“He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations,” Heitner said.
The lawsuit details two incidents of alleged sexual assault in June 2017 at Brown’s home. The lawsuit includes copies of what Taylor says are text messages of Brown bragging about what happened.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said via a statement provided to the Times by her attorney. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
Taylor stopped working for Brown following the first two alleged assaults, the lawsuit said. But several months later, Brown called to apologize, and Taylor was “swayed by his assurance that he would cease any sexual advances,” according to the lawsuit.
She accused the NFL wide receiver of forcing her onto a bed at his home the night of May 20, 2018, and raping her while she shouted “no” and “stop.”
The night of the alleged rape, Taylor “invited herself” to join Brown and his friends for several hours of partying at Miami nightclubs and went home with Brown by choice instead of going back to her hotel, Heitner said.
“Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual,” Heitner said.
Attorney: Brown ‘refuses to be the victim’
Taylor and Brown met while attending Central Michigan University and Brown later hired Taylor as a trainer, the New York Times reports.
According to Brown’s attorney, Brown was approached by Taylor in 2017 — “shortly after Mr. Brown signed a contract making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL” — and asked to make a $1.6 million investment in Taylor’s business project.
Taylor stopped talking to Brown when he refused to give her the money, Heitner said, then “resurfaced” in 2018 and offered to travel to Pennsylvania and South Florida to train Brown.
She traveled to Brown’s residences on multiple occasions, including after the alleged rape, according to Heitner, and asked Brown for tickets to a Steelers game in the winter of 2018.
“Mr. Brown, whose hard work and dedication to his craft has allowed him to rise to the top of his profession, refuses to be the victim of what he believes to be a money grab,” Heitner said.
Brown played for the Steelers from 2010-18 before being traded to the Oakland Raiders in March. He was released by the Raiders last week and signed with the Patriots.
In a statement, the Steelers said the organization “did not have any knowledge of the alleged incidents involving Antonio Brown prior to yesterday (Tuesday). If requested, the Steelers organization will cooperate in any related investigation.”