MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — NFL investigators will meet with Antonio Brown’s accuser on Monday, a source confirmed to the Globe, officially launching the league’s investigation into sexual assault and rape allegations made against Brown by his trainer, Britney Taylor, in a civil lawsuit in Florida.
Brown was permitted by the NFL to play in the Patriots’ 43-0 win over the Dolphins on Sunday, and Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his debut.
Brown did not make himself available to comment following the game, violating NFL protocol by leaving the Patriots’ locker room before it opened to the media.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick would not discuss the decision to play Brown after the game.
Patriots publicist Stacey James told reporters after the game Brown would answer questions, but Brown had quickly vanished, the nameplate above his locker removed.
But Brown’s status could change following Monday’s meeting between Taylor and NFL investigators, who will ask Taylor to tell her side of the story and if she has any further evidence beyond what she presented in her lawsuit.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not be present at the meeting, as he is not involved in the league’s investigative work.
If Taylor presents compelling evidence, the NFL’s personal conduct policy allows Goodell to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list (the equivalent of paid leave) for an indefinite amount of time. But the meeting with Taylor also could be just the beginning of the NFL’s investigation, and Goodell could allow Brown to continue to play until the investigation or the legal process advances further.
As of Sunday night, the NFL has not yet scheduled a meeting with Brown, according to two league sources.
But Brown’s attorney, Darren Heitner, has vehemently denied all accusations and said Brown will cooperate with any NFL investigation.
The alleged sexual assaults happened two years ago, and Brown and Taylor have been in confidential settlement talks since April, a league source confirmed.
The latest round of talks ended with an offer of around $2 million for Taylor to end the claims against Brown, with a deadline of last Sunday night. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday.
But Brown chose not to sign the agreement, and instead wants to fight the claims and clear his name.
Brown was also not aware that Sunday was a hard deadline, as there have been several other offers and deadlines throughout the months of negotiation.
Brown did not know the lawsuit would be coming last week, and he found out about it on Twitter via an article from the New York Times.