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Following news that NFL player Antonio Brown has been accused of sexual misconduct by two different women, the pro athlete is facing another allegation: That he sent threatening text messages to one of his accusers and implied that she falsified her story for money.
And, Friday afternoon, Brown's team, the New England Patriots, announced that they had released the pro player.
Britney Taylor, a former gymnast and personal trainer, who met Brown, 31, in college, filed a lawsuit earlier this month accusing him of sexually assaulting her multiple times and raping her on one occasion. Days later, a second woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told her own story to Sports Illustrated, claiming to the outlet that she’d been hired to complete a painting in Brown’s home, but that the job ended after he propositioned her by showing up nearly nude. She did not reciprocate his interest, and he soon “ghosted” her without letting her finish the project, she claimed.
Brown has denied the accusations of both women. Now, however, the second woman has claimed in a letter to the NFL that Brown sent her threatening text messages after she shared her story, Sports Illustrated reports.
In screenshots of a group message between Brown and four other people, Brown appeared to call the artist’s claims a “bullsh—t story” and refer to her as a “super broke girl with a lot of kids.” In another message, he instructed someone called “Eric B” to “look up her background history.” He also included photos that he said were of the woman’s children, and called her “awfully broke.”
Lisa J. Banks, a lawyer representing the artist, included the screenshots in a letter sent to the NFL on Thursday requesting that they put an end to Brown’s “intimidating and threatening” conduct toward the woman, according to Sports Illustrated.
“Our client ... is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her,” Banks wrote. “While she certainly qualifies as a ‘starving artist,’ she has never approached Mr. Brown, nor will she, about seeking money to compensate her for his sexual misconduct, contrary to his allegations in the text messages.”
Representatives from the NFL orchestrated a phone call between their investigators and the artist’s lawyers within hours of receiving the letter, Sports Illustrated reports, citing anonymous sources.
A spokesperson for the NFL has confirmed that the league is investigating the text messages, according to one NFL.com report.
The anonymous artist, who is reportedly in her late-20s, told Sports Illustrated for a report published earlier this month that she was kneeling down and working on a mural in Brown’s Pennsylvania home when he appeared behind her nude, save a small towel covering his genitals.
“He was flirty with me but I paid him no mind because I was there on business, plus, I had already seen him with multiple girls in the short time I was with him. I was about 40 percent done on the second day, and I’m on my knees painting the bottom, and he walks up to me butt-ass naked, with a hand cloth covering his [penis] and starts having a conversation with me,” she recalled to the outlet.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been tried [by men] a lot of times, so I just kept my cool and kept painting,” she continued. “After that, it all ended abruptly.”
The woman said that Brown paid her for the two days of work but ended all contact with her and did not pay her for another painting of hers that he bought at a charity auction.
Shortly after they were made public, Brown denied the allegations via his lawyer Darren Heitner, according to TMZ.
The artist was the second woman to accuse Brown of misconduct; Taylor said that during her time working with the wide receiver in 2017, he kissed her without consent on one occasion and masturbated and ejaculated on her at another point, The New York Times reports. She said that he then “forcibly raped” her the following year and sent her insulting text messages about it afterward.
Brown, who recently signed a deal with the New England Patriots worth millions, has denied those allegations as well, with Heitner claiming that Taylor’s encounters with Brown were all consensual and implying that her claims were part of an attempt to get money from Brown.
“Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” reads Heitner’s statement. “He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
A spokesman for the New England Patriots said Friday afternoon that the team was releasing Brown, after earlier confirming that they were investigating the allegations.
"We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time," they said.
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