A timeline of the NFL’s Antonio Brown saga, from promising rookie to unrelenting controversy

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Nine years ago, as the Pittsburgh Steelers opened training camp for the 2010 season, head coach Mike Tomlin assessed the future of sixth-round pick Antonio Brown and Brown’s fellow rookie receivers.

“The pedigree stands out,” Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They show maturity in terms of catching the football and gaining separation … but they still got miles to go. They’re rookies. But I like what they’re doing.”

Now, nine years later, Brown has separated himself from his rookie class — and the rest of the NFL — by fashioning the most prolific six-year stretch for a receiver in NFL history, topping 100 receptions and 1,200 yards receiving in each of the past six seasons.

But Brown’s on-field accomplishments have been accompanied by off-field drama so unrelenting that it’s had some fans checking their newsfeeds on an hourly basis.

Here’s a timeline of recent events surrounding the All-Pro wideout:

JAN. 15, 2017: In the Steelers’ locker room after the team’s 18-16 playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Brown secretly streams the team’s post-game celebration on Facebook Live, including Tomlin’s post-game remarks about the Steelers’ next opponent, the New England Patriots. Brown is fined for his violation of the NFL’s social media policy.

OCT. 9, 2018: Brown faces a pair of lawsuits for an April incident in which he allegedly damaged his leased South Florida apartment and threw items off his balcony that nearly struck a 2-year-old boy.

NOV. 8, 2018: Brown is ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on a suburban Pittsburgh road with a speed limit of 45 mph, after police pull over his black Porsche sports car at 10 in the morning.

DEC. 16, 2018: At a team practice in the week leading up to the Steelers’ regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, Brown gets into dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, according to multiple media reports. Brown then skips the week’s remaining practices, leading the team to deactivate him for that Sunday’s game.

FEB. 12, 2019: In a Twitter post, Brown thanks Steelers fans for the last nine years but says that it’s “time to move on,” spurring the team to investigate trading the elite receiver, who still has three years left on his contract.

MARCH 10, 2019: The Steelers trade Brown to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft. Later reports suggest the Patriots may have offered as much as a first-round pick for the discontented wideout, but that the Steelers didn’t want to trade him to such a close rival.

JULY 26, 2019: After signing a restructured contract that includes $30 million in guaranteed money, Brown arrives at Raiders’ training camp in a hot-air balloon — but the 10th-year receiver can’t practice due to a frostbite injury to his feet caused by a mishap during a recent cryotherapy session.

JULY 30, 2019: Brown practices with the Raiders but leaves the field early when he isn’t allowed to wear his helmet of choice because the 10-year-old model is no longer certified safe by league. After petitioning the league for permission to use the helmet, Brown returns to practice two weeks later but leaves practice the following week after the league rules against him.

SEPT. 4, 2019: Brown posts to Instagram a letter from Raiders general manager Mike Mayock levying $54,000 in fines for Brown’s absences from training camp. “When your own team want to hate … everyone got to pay this year,” Brown says in the post. Later in the day he gets into a confrontation with Mayock on the Raiders’ practice field before teammates pull him away from the GM, according to several media reports.

SEPT. 6, 2019:
Brown offers an emotional apology to his Raiders teammates at a team meeting, prompting coach Jon Gruden to say the team is “really excited” to have Brown on board and that they’re “ready to move on” together. Then, later in the day, Brown posts a video to YouTube that includes portions of a private phone conversation Brown recorded between him and Gruden.

SEPT. 7, 2019: The Raiders fine Brown $215,000 for conduct detrimental to the team, thereby voiding Brown’s $30 million in guaranteed money. Brown then takes to Instagram to ask for his release, saying, “You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” and, “I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.” Just hours later, the Raiders release him.

SEPT. 8, 2019: The day after being let go by the Raiders, Brown agrees to a 1-year deal with the New England Patriots worth up to $15 million with a $9 million signing bonus. The news comes on the same day that reports surface suggesting that Brown may have sought advice from social media consultants on how to speed up his release from the Raiders.

SEPT. 10, 2019: Brown is accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a woman who had worked as his personal trainer on three occasions between 2017 and 2018. Patriots officials say the league has opened an investigation into the accusations.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Sep 2019

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown accused of rape in lawsuit

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was cut just days ago by the Oakland Raiders after a host of disciplinary problems, has been accused of rape in a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Florida.

Britney Taylor, who worked as a physical trainer for Brown, alleges that the NFL Pro Bowler sexually assaulted her twice in June 2017 while they were working together, and a third time after a night out in Miami in May 2018.

“He used manipulation and false promises to lure her into his world, and once there, he sexually assaulted and raped her,” the lawsuit says of Brown. “These heinous acts have inflicted severe and dramatic damage on Ms. Taylor, irreparably harming her.”

Although ABC News does not typically name alleged victims of sexual assault, Taylor’s attorney revealed her identity in statements to the press and also confirmed that Taylor filed the suit in her own name.

Brown’s lawyer flatly denied the allegations.

“Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, said in a statement. “He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”

Heitner said any sexual relationship between the two was consensual.

“We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representatives,” officials with the New England Patriots said in a statement Tuesday night. “We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”

Brown’s representatives said Taylor approached Brown in 2017 and asked him to invest $1.6 million in her business project, but he turned her down after learning she allegedly intended to pay off a tax lien on her home and cut off communication with her. She approached him again in 2018, though, and the two engaged in “a consensual personal relationship.”

Heitner also says the 28-year-old woman stayed at Brown’s house after one of the alleged assaults and continued contact with him throughout 2018 and posted photos of the two on social media.

The lawsuit lays out a May 20, 2018, incident in which Taylor says Brown “forced her down onto a bed … and forcibly raped her” despite trying to resist him and repeatedly screaming and crying throughout.

Brown’s lawyer said Taylor invited herself to a strip club with him and his friends and later invited herself to join him in his hotel room, where the two had consensual sex.

The two have known each other since 2010 when Taylor was a freshman gymnast at Central Michigan University and he played for the football team.

The lawsuit lays out detailed information of the pair’s relationship and includes graphic text messages Brown allegedly sent to her. She is asking for a jury trial.

Brown, 31, has been in the news almost constantly for the past month as he apparently tried to force his way out of Oakland, where he had been traded in the offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to deal the discontent receiver just months earlier.

He missed time with frostbite on his feet due to a cryotherapy mishap, petitioned the league to be able to use a now-banned helmet and repeatedly — and openly — battled with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock on social media. He was fined multiple times and eventually forced his way off the team by asking for his release on Instagram last week.

The Raiders voided Brown’s $30 million contract when they released him.

The defending champion New England Patriots signed the receiver over the weekend. Much of the contract is not guaranteed, and incentive-based.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Sep 2019

Payday for California college athletes moves closer to pay dirt

8213erika/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — The California Assembly has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow college athletes to earn income for the first time from their names, images and likenesses — a proposal praised by NBA star LeBron James but slammed by the NCAA.

The proposal, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, would prohibit California colleges and universities from enforcing NCAA rules preventing student-athletes from being compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses and from endorsements and sponsorships.

The state Assembly passed the bill on Monday in a 73-0 vote. An earlier version was approved by the state Senate on May 22 and the amended bill will go back to the state Senate for a vote on Friday.

If approved by the Senate, the bill will be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have 30 days to sign it into law or veto it.

It could go into effect in 2023.

The Assembly voted on the bill after LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers tweeted his support for the legislation last week.

“California can change the game,” James, a frequent critic of the NCAA who went straight to the NBA from high school, said in his tweet.

In a statement to ABC News on Tuesday, the NCAA said it is closely monitoring the legislation.

“As we evaluate our next steps, we remain focused on providing opportunities and a level playing field for the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide,” the statement reads.

In a letter sent to state Assembly leaders in June, NCAA President Mark Emmert warned that if the legislation becomes law there could be severe consequences for the state’s colleges and universities, including prohibiting athletic teams from participating in NCAA championships.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that has been the subject of litigation and much national debate,” Emmert wrote in his letter.

“Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships,” Emmert wrote. “As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a co-author of the bill, said the proposed law would level the playing field for student-athletes against “unfair rules that exploit college athletes and allow the NCAA, universities, TV networks, and corporate sponsors to pocket huge sums.”

She said the rules have “disproportionately harmed students from low-income families,” including many who live below the poverty line while attempting to simultaneously fulfill their dreams in the athletic arena and the classroom.

“They’re particularly unfair to female athletes because, for many young women, college is the only time they could earn income since women have fewer professional sports opportunities than men,” Skinner’s statement reads.

The action taken by California lawmakers appears to be gaining national traction.

In March, U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., proposed the Student-Athlete Equity Act, bipartisan legislation that would remove the restriction on student-athletes using or being compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.

Some athletes have previously sued the NCAA and video game makers in attempts to get paid for the use of their names and likenesses.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, who led the school to an NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship in 1995, was the lead plaintiff in an anti-trust lawsuit that challenged the NCAA’s right to use athletes’ names, images and likenesses without compensation. O’Bannon claimed his name and image were illegally used in video games years after he graduated and without him ever being compensated.

A judge presiding over O’Bannon’s case found in 2014 that amateurism rules for college sports violated federal antitrust law and ruled that student-athletes could be compensated as much as $5,000 annually. But an appeals court struck down the plan to pay student-athletes.

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Posted On 11 Sep 2019

Scoreboard roundup — 9/10/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Tuesday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
LA Dodgers 7, Baltimore 3
Minnesota 5, Washington 0
Seattle 4, Cincinnati 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Detroit 12, NY Yankees 11
Toronto 4, Boston 3
Chi White Sox 7, Kansas City 3
Oakland 21, Houston 7
Tampa Bay 5, Texas 3, 11 innings
Cleveland 8, LA Angels 0

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia 6, Atlanta 5
NY Mets 3, Arizona 2
Milwaukee 4, Miami 3
Colorado 2, St. Louis 1
San Francisco 5, Pittsburgh 4
San Diego 9, Chi Cubs 8, 10 innings

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Posted On 11 Sep 2019