Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AB is the center of the news headlines once again, but this time it is not for his entertaining, albeit irrational behavior. Today, Brown’s former trainer filed a lawsuit, accusing him of rape.
This weekend has seen nothing but news on AB. From his social media posts, to his release from the Raiders, to the Patriots signing him on Saturday, there has been no rest for the wicked. In a recent post, we examined how some of this behavior could indeed be illegal (see our recent article regarding his recording of a personal conversation with Gruden without Gruden’s consent). But breaking news just earlier this evening puts AB in much more serious trouble than this weekend’s shenanigans as his former trainer filed a lawsuit today, accusing AB of rape.
A lawsuit filed by Britney Taylor and obtained by TMZ Sports claims that Brown raped Taylor during three separate encounters. The lawsuit claims that Brown bragged to Taylor about the incidents in “profane and angry text messages.” Taylor claims that Brown apologized several months later and begged her to continue training him. She ultimately agreed to training, but nearly a year later, Brown raped her.
Taylor says she met Brown at Central Michigan University, where they were both students. They also participated together in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Florida, where Brown resides. In the suit, Taylor seeks compensation for “physical injuries, pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, and emotional pain and suffering.” She is also seeking punitive damages, but an amount is not specified in the lawsuit.
The NFL’s personal conduct policy states that an individual is subject to discipline under the policy if the person is determined to be guilty of a criminal charge or if the NFL investigation demonstrates the person engaged in conduct prohibited by the policy. Depending on the nature of the violation and the person’s record, discipline may be a fine, suspension, community service, or a combination of the three. Further, the policy states:
“Violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault will result in a baseline six-game suspension without pay, with more if aggravating factors are present, such as the use of a weapon or a crime against a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL.”
If convicted of rape, Brown would be subject to discipline under the policy. However, if not found guilty of a criminal charge, the NFL is then responsible to investigate and if so, Brown could be subject to discipline under the policy solely depending on the outcome of the NFL investigation. If the NFL Conduct Committee finds a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, the player may be forced to go on a paid or unpaid leave, depending on the severity and repetition of the violation. A final disciplinary decision is issued upon the conclusion of both law enforcement investigation and NFL investigation.
Regarding Brown’s response to the lawsuit, the New York Times reported, “’Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit,’ said a statement from Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown. ‘He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.’”
In the age of #MeToo, women are more frequently being listened to, heard, and believed when reporting incidents of sexual assault. The issue is not a woman’s credibility, but rather the accused’s conduct. The incidents alleged by Taylor in her lawsuit are worthy of full investigation by both law enforcement and the NFL.
We will continue to report on this issue as it develops.
3L at University at Buffalo School of Law. If I am not in class or studying, I am outdoors with my beloved pit bull pups or cheering on the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Pistons with my husband.