news 1 week ago

Bill Belichick on Antonio Brown rape accusation: 'When we know more we’ll say more'

Sporting News — (Kirstie Chiappelli)

Bill Belichick spoke for the first time Wednesday since newly acquired receiver Antonio Brown was accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual assault and rape.

In a tense press conference, the Patriots coach addressed the situation without going into much detail.

"On Antonio’s situation, both Antonio and his representatives have made statements, so I’m not going to be expanding on any of those," Belichick said. "They are what they are. We’re looked into the situation. We’re taking it very seriously all the way through the organization. I’m sure there are questions, but there’s not going to be any discussion about that today."

When pressed for more information, Belichick sternly dismissed the questions.

"I’m not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given," Belichick said, repeating, "When we know more we’ll say more."

Asked about Brown's status for Week 2, Belichick couldn't commit to the veteran playing against the Dolphins but did say the team expected him at practice Wednesday.

"We’re taking it one day at a time ... like we always do," Belichick said. "I appreciate all the questions, but what’s been said has been said."

Shortly thereafter, Brown was on the field at the Patriots facility, wearing No. 1.

Brown has been accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida. The lawsuit alleges there were three separate incidents, two of which occurred in June 2017. Taylor alleges in the suit she was "forcibly raped" by Brown in the other incident, which took place in May 2018.

Brown's attorney, Darren Heitner, denied "each and every allegation in the lawsuit" in a statement on Twitter and ESPN reported Brown is planning to countersue.

Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, appearing Wednesday on ESPN, described the suit as "a money grab," adding, "These allegations are false. He denies every one of them."

The NFL has yet to comment on the situation, but the Patriots released a statement saying the league informed the team it will launch an investigation.

"We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio's representatives," the Patriots said in a statement. "We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place."

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the NFL will "give serious consideration" to putting Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, making him ineligible to play, as it investigates the situation. It's unclear if any such decision would be made before the Patriots-Dolphins game Sunday.

Brown was released by the Raiders at his request Saturday following an eventful offseason and signed with the Patriots on Monday.