A second incident of alleged sexual misconduct by new Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown surfaced Monday, as the NFL was scheduled to question Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, about her allegation in a federal civil lawsuit that he raped her.
An artist, who wishes not to be identified, told Sports Illustrated that in 2017 she was in Brown’s home kneeling while working on a mural he had commissioned when she turned to find him standing naked before her with a small towel over his genitals.
“She took it as a clear sexual come-on,’’ which she brushed off, effectively ending the mural project, the magazine reported.
Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, tweeted, “Antonio Brown has reviewed the sexual misconduct allegations made by an unnamed artist included in a recently published Sports Illustrated article and denies that he ever engaged in such activities. There will be no further comment at this time.’’
A day after the elite receiver scored a touchdown in his Patriots debut, Sports Illustrated also reported that police responded three times in the last four years to the former Pittsburgh-area home Brown shared with his longtime girlfriend, Chelsie Kyriss, to calls about domestic disturbances. No charges were lodged.
The disclosures, emerging a week after the Patriots signed Brown to a $15 million contract, raised additional concerns about the team’s commitment to a player of questionable character.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan Kraft, the team’s president, have defended the integrity of their multibillion-dollar franchise amid multiple scandals through the years. They have not spoken publicly about Brown since the team signed him, and their spokesman said Monday that they are remaining consistent with their policy of not commenting on player acquisitions.
The spokesman also cited a statement the Patriots released last week, which ownership approved.
“We take these allegations very seriously,’’ the statement said. “Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while the investigation takes place.”
The NFL Network said it was told by one person familiar with the situation that Robert Kraft would not have signed off on giving Brown a contract had the team known he was going to be sued for an alleged rape. Taylor filed the suit the day after the signing.
Brown, 31, is not facing criminal charges, and court records indicate that he has not been charged with a crime since he was fined for misdemeanor theft in Florida in 2007, when he was 19.
Kraft, who is fighting two counts of misdemeanor prostitution in Florida, said in March, “The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women.’’
Kraft pleaded not guilty in the Florida case, which is pending on appeal after a lower court judge barred prosecutors from using much of the evidence they gathered because of their investigative practices.
Some critics said Kraft should state why he is standing by Brown.
“My verdict on Mr. Kraft and the Patriots ownership in handling this situation is this: an epic fail,’’ said Chris Goddard, president of the Marblehead-based CGPR public relations firm.
As a woman and longtime Patriots fan who has advised public and private organizations on similar personnel issues, Goddard said, “When in crisis, the worst action is to go dark and silent . . . We deserve better, not just women, but fans in general who look to sports teams to set an example.’’
A league source said the NFL did not plan to comment on Monday’s scheduled interview with Taylor and may not comment on the case for weeks — an indication that the league may be conducting an extensive investigation. A timeline for the fact-finding has yet to be determined, the source said.
Taylor alleges that Brown first sexually assaulted her in 2017 at his Pittsburgh-area home. She accused Brown of sexually molesting her again in 2017 and raping her in 2018, both times at his home in Hollywood, Fla.
Her lawsuit contained two profane text messages that Brown purportedly sent her, which she alleges contain evidence of Brown acknowledging the assaults. Brown’s representatives have said he may countersue her.
Notable among the questions the league was expected to ask Taylor:
■ Why didn’t she report the alleged rape and other incidents of alleged sexual misconduct to police?
■ Did she receive a medical examination after the alleged rape?
■ Why did she remain friendly with Brown after the first and second alleged sexual assaults?
■ What was the connection, if any, between Brown denying her request to invest $1.6 million in her business project and her suing him? Taylor, a former collegiate gymnast, operates Taylor’ed Gymnastics Training Center in her hometown of Memphis.
Brown’s agent described the lawsuit as “a money grab.’’ As of Monday, the NFL had not scheduled a meeting with Brown, according to a league source.
The league also has plans to interview Marquise Brown, a Baltimore Ravens receiver and cousin of Antonio Brown, who was purportedly on the premises during one of the alleged sexual assaults.
Should Taylor provide league officials with compelling evidence, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has authority under the league’s personal conduct policy to place the Patriots receiver on the commissioner’s exempt list — the equivalent of paid leave — for an indefinite time.
Goodell also could permit Brown to continue playing until the investigation or legal process advances or concludes.
ESPN reported and the Globe confirmed that Brown and Taylor had been engaged in confidential settlement talks since April. The discussions ended the night before the Patriots signed him.
In the final round of talks, Brown was asked to pay Taylor $2 million to drop her claims. Brown refused and chose instead to fight the lawsuit to try to clear his name, although a league source said he was unaware the suit would be filed the day after he signed with the Patriots.
The allegations surrounding Brown could potentially harm the team’s brand as well as Tom Brady’s. The team is already selling Brown’s Patriots uniform jersey, No. 17, for $99.99, after Brady, according to NBC, told Robert Kraft he was “a million percent in’’ on acquiring the mercurial receiver.
Brown last week circulated a video he taped at one of Brady’s TB12 centers. And Brady, who completed four passes to Brown, including a 20-yard touchdown toss, in New England’s 43-0 trouncing of the Dolphins Sunday in Miami, posted a heart emoji Monday on an Instagram photo of Brown hugging his father after the game.
Antonio Brown went live on Instagram from the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. Alex Guerrero was there with him.— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 12, 2019
Brown: “No matter what they say. No matter what they hate, somebody’s still gotta go to work.”
He also recommends starting a football USA team. pic.twitter.com/kQBwUv2tZR
There were serious questions about Brown’s character even before Taylor filed her lawsuit. He left the Steelers last year amid character questions, which intensified during his preseason tenure with the Oakland Raiders.
On Monday, Sports Illustrated stated its investigative reporting painted “a disturbing picture’’ of Brown. In addition to the second allegation of sexual misconduct and the police calls for domestic disturbances, the story cited allegations of Brown effectively stealing from a charity auction, failing to pay a long list of debts, and uttering profane references to women. The magazine said Brown’s lawyer and agent did not respond to requests for comment.
To our readers: An early online version of the story misidentified a woman who was part of the Sports Illustrated article as the second to allege misconduct by Brown. It was another woman who made the complaint, and she asked SI not to identify her. The Globe regrets the error.