New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday shut down a reporter’s question about newagainst wide receiver Antonio Brown. One day earlier, Brown’s former trainer accused him of rape in a federal lawsuit, and Brown’s lawyer issued a statement saying he denies “each and every allegation.”
The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, claims Brown sexually assaulted the woman in three separate incidents — two in June 2017 and one in May 2018. Brown’s attorney issued a statement denying the allegations and CBS News has learned Brown plans to countersue.
The NFL and Patriots are investigating the claims. In a Wednesday news conference, Belichick said the team is “taking it very seriously all the way through the organization. I’m sure there are questions, but I’m not going to enter into a discussion about that.”
When asked if he knew of the allegations when signing Brown to the team on Saturday, Belichick said, “I’m not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given.”
Belichick said they are taking it “one day at a time” when asked if Brown would play this weekend. He gave the same answer when asked about the possibility of Brown being placed on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Exempt List. That special designation, which is used at the discretion of Goodell to allow the league to conduct investigations into possible violations of the league’s personal conduct policy, would prevent Brown from practicing or attending games while on the list.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, implied to ESPN that he and Brown were aware of the allegation prior the news being made public.
“The moment I learned about the lawsuit, Antonio and I had unfortunately anticipated this possibility,” he said. “What I want to emphasize is Antonio takes these allegations very seriously. He is a loving father of five children, including a daughter.”
Brown, who joined the Patriots on Monday, had his first practice with the team on Wednesday. Brown signed a one-year deal with the Patriots that could pay him $15 million this season.
Brown was originally traded from Pittsburgh to Oakland in the offseason. But a bizarre foot injury, fights with the NFL over his helmet, skipping practices, multiple fines, a run-in with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and his social media posts featuring a recorded call with Raiders head coach John Gruden ultimately led to the decision to release him.