The NFL completed the first step of its investigation into sexual assault allegations against Patriots receiver Antonio Brown on Monday, with league officials meeting with his accuser for 10 hours, an NFL source confirmed to the Globe.
However, the matter still appears to be a long way from being resolved. An NFL source and a league source said the league has not yet scheduled an interview with Brown. One source said it might be several weeks until the NFL has any updates.
Brown remains eligible to play for the Patriots despite the rape and sexual assault allegations made last week by his trainer, Britney Taylor, in a civil lawsuit in Florida. Brown’s status has not changed following Monday’s meeting, and as of now he is eligible to play Sunday against the Jets.
The NFL’s personal conduct policy allows commissioner Roger Goodell to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list (the equivalent of paid leave) while the legal process plays out, but only if criminal charges filed, or following an NFL internal investigation. Taylor never involved law enforcement before filing her lawsuit, but Monday’s meeting with Taylor marked the start of the league’s investigation, and Goodell now has reasonable cause to place Brown on the exempt list if he so chooses.
Taylor accused Brown of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents from two years ago. But her allegations are uncorroborated, and the precedent in the NFL and other pro sports leagues is for athletes to continue playing while civil legal matters play out in the courts.
Brown also was accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman, according to a Sports Illustrated report published Monday.
While the details of Monday’s meeting between the NFL and Taylor are not known, the NFL was searching for any additional information from Taylor that she didn’t provide in her lawsuit.
Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.