Antonio Brown released from New England Patriots, saga continues

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Photo Courtesy of nytimes.com

By Katherine Coble || News Editor

The professional football world has been left in the lurch in the past weeks as the dramatic saga involving Antonio Brown and the New England Patriots has unfolded. Brown, 31, is best known for his nine years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During this time he played in seven Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl championship game, and amassed more receptions and receiving yards than any other player since he entered the league according to ESPN. 

Brown’s tenure with the Steelers slowly turned sour. By 2018, disagreements between him and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were publicly known. He skipped practices for a week 17 game following an argument with Roethlisberger and requested a trade from the team once the season was over. This led to a short-lived stint with the Oakland Raiders in California from March until September of 2019. 

Brown’s time with the Raiders began on a poor note after he developed frostbite during a cryotherapy session. Cryotherapy relies on the use of extremely cold temperatures to heal muscle tissue. It was eventually revealed that Brown was frostbitten because he did not wear proper footwear during a cryotherapy session in France. This injury caused him to miss 10 of the 11 training camp practices held by the Raiders during the 2019 offseason.

Brown’s offseason was also marred by disagreements with the Raiders over the use of his favorite helmet, which was banned by the NFL after they discovered it was more than ten years old. The NFL requires all helmets used to be manufactured within the most recent decade. Brown threatened to retire early if he was not allowed to continue wearing the old helmet, but the issue was eventually resolved. This would be foreshadowing of more retirement threats to come. 

Brown almost immediately clashed with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock. The two engaged in a verbal altercation after Mayock fined Brown on September 4th for a series of unexcused absences with the team. Brown also threatened to hit Mayock and was physically restrained by several teammates during the incident, according to CBS Sports. He apologized for his actions the following day, but this remorse was short-lived, and Brown requested a trade shortly after learning the Raiders had voided the guaranteed money in his contract – a hefty $29.125 million price to pay. He was released by the Raiders on September 9 after a whirlwind month of tension and drama. 

After being released by the Raiders, Brown was immediately picked up by the New England Patriots, and the next step of his saga began. On September 10 legal paperwork was released which confirmed that Brown has been accused of sexual misconduct by his former personal trainer, Britney Taylor.  Taylor is a gymnast and fellow alumni of his alma mater, Central Michigan University. Taylor alleged in a civil lawsuit that Brown exposed himself to her, forcefully ejaculated on her, and eventually raped her on three separate occasions. Brown is now facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct in the wake of the lawsuit. 

Although he played one game with the Patriots, Brown was released by the team on September 20th following additional allegations that he sent threatening text messages to an accuser via text message. Brown responded to the news by going on a tirade on Twitter, claiming that he “[w]ill not be playing in the @NFL anymore” and accused the league of hypocrisy for how they have dealt with his case in comparison to that of Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida earlier this year. 

It is unclear whether Brown’s “retirement” from the game will be permanent – and whether any team would take him on as a player if he indicated a willingness to rejoin the league. Either way, the saga of Brown’s off-field journey appears to be far from over.

Senior Katherine Coble is the News Editor. Her email is kcoble@fandm.edu. 

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