What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Nancy Armour provides the latest news on Antonio Browns playing status moving forward,.
Earlier this week, a woman told Sports Illustrated that while painting a mural at one of Antonio Brown’s homes in 2017, the New England Patriots wide receiver made an unwanted sexual advance. She did not reciprocate, and Brown “ghosted” her without paying.
Now, she’s telling Sports Illustrated that she was included on a group text chain started Wednesday night by Brown, in which he accused the artist of fabricating the story and encouraged the other members of the chat to dig into her past.
The woman’s lawyer, Lisa J. Banks, sent a letter to the NFL on Thursday in an effort to terminate conduct “intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.” Sports Illustrated reported that the NFL responded to the letter within an hour of receiving it and set up a phone call between the league and the artist’s attorneys.
Sports Illustrated independently reviewed the texts and confirmed the sender was the same number Brown gave the artist in 2017.
‘Just a problem kid, man’: Antonio Brown’s troubled past shines light on current situation
“Really sad you would make up bull (expletive) story to the world thought u had more integrity n respect for yourself must be really hard times for to make up some stuff for money super sad” the number purportedly belonging to Brown began in the group text.
Included on the chain were Brown’s lawyer Darren Heitner, who did not provide comment to Sports Illustrated, and an individual referred to as “Eric B.” The original sender encouraged “Eric B” to look into the artist’s background, and one number in the chat responded “Yes sir we will do that.”
The artist told Sports Illustrated that she is not seeking financial compensation from Brown.
Brown had invited the artist to his Pittsburgh home in 2017 to paint a mural. On the second day, she claimed he approached her with no clothes on and only a cloth towel covering his genitals while she was working.
Brown is facing separate sexual assault and rape charges in a Southern Florida civil lawsuit, filed by his former personal trainer, Britney Taylor (USA TODAY Sports does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward themselves, as Taylor has done). According to multiple reports, Taylor met with the league Monday. Police have said they will not investigate the allegations unless she files a formal complaint.
He addressed the media for the first time since joining New England on Thursday, but offered mostly answers that revolved around football.
“I appreciate that question,” Brown said when asked about his standing with the league. “I’m just here to focus on ball and look forward to getting out there in the home stadium, being with the team.”
In light of the allegations, Nike confirmed it had cut ties with the receiver Thursday.