- A civil lawsuit was filed on September 10 accusing Antonio Brown of raping his fitness trainer.
- The suit is only the latest event in a bizarre year for the wide receiver.
- In March, Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders after publicly asking for a trade for several months.
- Brown’s time with the Raiders was marked by a cryotherapy mishap, helmet debacle, and eventual request for release.
- Brown was signed by the New England Patriots mere hours after being released by the Raiders.
- On September 20, the Patriots released Brown.
- Here’s everything you need to know about Brown’s chaotic offseason.
Nine years into his NFL career, Antonio Brown has built himself into one of the best receivers in NFL history, but those accomplishments have been pushed to the wayside for what many have called a circus.
From a cryotherapy mishap to a helmet debacle, to being all-in then all-out with the Oakland Raiders, those events do not begin to scratch the surface of Brown’s bizarre year.
Most recently, Brown has been accused of rape by his former personal trainer, according to a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges Brown sexually assaulted the trainer on three occasions. In a statement from his attorney, Brown denied “each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” calling the claims as a “money grab.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Brown has also sent "intimidating" text messages to a second accuser, who said Brown made an unwanted sexual advance.
On September 20, Brown was released by the Patriots.
Here's a timeline of Antonio Brown's chaotic offseason, including new allegations from a Sports Illustrated report.
June 2017 – Antonio Brown hires a painter to create a mural in his home and allegedly exposed himself to her, according to a report by Sports Illustrated
According to a report by Sports Illustrated, Brown hosted a charity softball game in June 2017 to benefit the National Youth Foundation.
The event featured an auction of artwork donated by regional artists during which Brown took notice to one of the pieces, topping the winning bid by offering $700 to purchase it for himself. Brown did not pay for the piece immediately, but promised to pay at a later date, according to Sophia Hanson, the organization's co-founder.
Brown also invited the artist, a woman in her mid-20s who was kept anonymous in the article, to create a mural in his home in Pittsburgh. According to the artist, the two agreed to a daily fee of $1,000 for her work.
During her second day working on the mural, the artist said "she was in a kneeling position while painting and turned to find Brown behind her, naked, holding a small hand towel over his genitals," according to Sports Illustrated.
June 2018 – Brown has a 220-gallon tank filled with piranhas installed and has reportedly still not paid over $2,000 he owes
According to Pittsburgh attorney Jack Goodrich, Jeff Leung of Aqua World Pet Super Center installed a 220-gallon tank at Brown's home and filled it with piranhas in June 2018.
Goodrich told Sports Illustrated that Leung received a call from Brown in December late in the night about an emergency with the fish. Leung "arrived to a tank covered in algae due to inattention, and the inimitable odor of dead, rotting piranha," according to Sports Illustrated.
The attorney told SI that Brown discontinued the aquarium as Leung suggested, but did not pay the more than $2,000 owed to Leung. He is now considered a lawsuit
January 2019 – Brown hires Chef Stefano Tedeschi to cook for him during Pro Bowl week and later refuses to pay the $38,521.20 owed to Tedeschi
Brown hired Chef Stefano Tedeschi to cook for him and his friends during Pro Bowl week in Orlando, Florida at a rented mansion. Tedeschi was recommended to Brown by then-Cardinals assistant Coach Larry Foote, who urged Brown to treat him well.
Tedeschi told SI that on multiple occasions he overheard Brown say, "Get those m-----f---ing crackers out of here," in reference to service people tending to the home.
Tedeschi realized he probably was not getting paid when he was yelled at by Brian Davis, one of Brown's personal assistants, to not look Brown in the eye when he speaks to him.
Later that day, Brown found a severed salmon head in the freezer, which Tedeschi was intending to use in a soup. Brown accused him of making a mafia-style threat, according to Tedeschi.
Brown refused to pay the $38,521.20 owed to the chef, according to the civil complaint Tedeschi filed.
March 10 – Oakland Raiders land Brown in blockbuster trade
After months of reports about Antonio Brown's strained relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers - which included sitting out Week 17, rifting with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and publicly requesting a trade - the saga finally came to an end.
The Raiders gave the Steelers a third-round pick and fifth-round pick for Brown, causing many to believe the team was on its way to a turn-around season.
August 7– Brown's mysterious foot injury is said to be frostbite caused by improper footwear in a cryotherapy machine
Brown was marked as day-to-day at the beginning of Raiders training camp due to a foot issue. He posted a photo of his feet on social media, which appeared to show extreme blistering.
Pro Football Talk's Chris Simms later reported that Brown's injury was frostbite caused by entering a cryotherapy machine with proper footwear.
August 9 – Brown's first preseason with the Raiders takes an ugly turn when reports surface that he went "radio silent" with the team because of the NFL's helmet rule
Brown was first believed to be missing from Raiders training camp because of his frostbitten feet. However, it was revealed that there was a different reason for his absence.
According to reports from ESPN's Adam Schefter, Brown was livid about an NFL rule that bans helmets that are too old and deemed unsafe. Brown wore his helmet - a Schutt Air Advantage - for all nine years of his career and reportedly threatened to retire if he could not wear it.
August 13 – Brown returns to Napa for training camp after officially losing his first grievance with the league
It appeared Brown was ready to partake in Raiders training camp after losing his first grievance with the NFL over his helmet. He even attempted to repaint his old one.
On Instagram, he wrote, "While I disagree with the arbitrator's decision, I'm working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field. I'm excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet!"
Brown also put out a search on Twitter for a later model of his helmet, which he believed would meet the league's approval. These later editions of the helmet were tested and did not pass.
August 19 – Raiders general manager Mike Mayock tells Antonio Brown to be "all-in or all-out"
When Brown arrived in training camp just a few days prior, it appeared that the bizarre events of his offseason would cease, but that was not the case.
Brown missed practice again on August 18, which he was fined $40,000 for, as he continued to fight the NFL on their helmet rule, prompting general manager Mike Mayock to issue Brown an ultimatum.
"Here's the bottom line: He's upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that, we appreciate that," Mayock said. "But at this point, we've pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So, from our perspective, it's time for him to be all-in or all-out, okay? So, we're hoping he's back soon."
According to reports, Brown did report to practice on August 19. However, he also filed his second grievance with the NFL, arguing that he should be allowed a one-year grace period to find a new helmet.
Morning, September 4 – Brown posts a letter from Mayock informing him of fines for missing practice and shows his displeasure
In another bizarre turn, Brown posted a photo of the letter Mayock sent him, which stated he was fined $13,950 for not participating in the Raiders' walkthrough on August 22. It also revealed that Brown was previously fined $40,000 for missing preseason training camp on August 18.
"When your own team want to hate but there's no stopping me now," Brown wrote on the image on his Instagram story. "Devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear."
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 4, 2019
Afternoon, September 4 – The team plans to suspend Brown after an altercation with Mayock
According to Schefter, Brown "got into it" with Mayock after Brown posted the photo of the fines on his Instagram story.
The confrontation was not physical, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported, but the two players did need to be separated.
"After a screaming match, Brown told Mayock that he would hit him in the face and then punted the ball ... and said, 'Fine me for that,'" Rapoport tweeted.
At a press conference on September 5, Mayock briefly addressed the reports.
"Antonio Brown is not in the building today," Mayock said in a press conference Thursday. "He's not going to be practicing. I don't have any more information. When we do, I'll get it to you. That's it for today."
September 6 – Dr. Victor Prisk, who runs Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness, files a lawsuit in Pennsylvania seeking $11,500 from Brown for missing payments
Dr. Victor Prisk, who runs Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness (POW) in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, first met Brown in August 2018, according to Sports Illustrated.
Prisk said Brown was three hours late and "upon arrival, passed gas numerous times in Prisk's vicinity while Prisk was testing his body fat."
"It seemed just childish to me," Prisk told Sports Illustrated. "I'm a doctor and this man is farting in my face."
Prisk took on Brown as a client and said the two orally agreed to a payment of $500 an hour for diets, a supplement program, and being an on-call "wellness coach" for Brown. Prisk told Sports Illustrated that Brown would shift the conversation when he would ask about payments.
Brown eventually stopped talking to Prisk when he began to explore opening a second building downtown, per Brown's suggestion.
Prisk filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania on September 6, seeking $11,500 from Brown. The suit is still pending.
Morning, September 6 – Brown issues "an emotional apology" to the team
According to ESPN, the wide receiver issued "an emotional apology" at a team meeting on the morning of September 6.
"Antonio is back today. We're excited about that. Ready to move on," head coach Jon Gruden said.
Evening, September 6, evening – Brown posts a video that includes audio from a call from head coach Jon Gruden asking "Do you want to be a Raider or not?"
Since Brown posted the letter about the fines, his relationship with the Raiders began to take a rollercoaster ride.
After giving "an emotional apology" earlier in the day, Brown posted a video on his YouTube channel Friday night that included a recorded phone call with head coach Jon Gruden.
Gruden asked Brown, "Do you want to be a Raider or not?" with Brown replying that he has "been trying to be a Raider since day one."
The video ends with Brown saying, "This my life. Ain't no more games."
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Gruden was amused by the video and thought it was "awesome."
Alejandro Narciso of SDLN Creative, who created the video for Brown, told ESPN's "Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" that Gruden gave his consent for the video's release.
Morning, September 7 – Brown asks for "release" in Instagram post and is subsequently cut by the Raiders
On Saturday morning, Brown posted a photo that read, "You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what's best for you."
"I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines," Brown wrote in the caption. "Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that has failed me all those years. 'I'm not mad at anyone. I'm just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.' Release me @raiders."
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Brown was fined $215,073.53 Friday evening for "conduct detrimental to the team" September 4. The fine would void nearly $30 million guaranteed to Brown in his contract.
The Raiders announced they released Brown shortly after his post.
"The Raiders have released WR Antonio Brown from the team today," the team's official account tweeted Saturday morning.
In a video Brown posted on YouTube, the star receiver could be seen celebrating when he saw he was released.
Evening, September 7 – Antonio Brown signs a one-year deal with the New England Patriots
Just hours after being released by the Raiders, Brown signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots worth up to $15 million that includes a $9 million signing bonus, according to Schefter.
However, Brown could not play in the Patriots season opener. Brown's release did not become official until 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, which was too late for him to become a Patriot officially. The NFL does not allow Sunday transactions.
September 10 – A federal lawsuit is filed accusing Brown of raping his fitness trainer
A federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday alleges Brown sexually assaulted trainer Britney Taylor on three occasions.
The lawsuit states the first incident occurred in 2017, saying Brown "exposed himself and kissed Ms. Taylor without her consent." Later that month, the lawsuit cites another incident where Brown allegedly masturbated "near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back" while the two were watching a church service on her iPad.
The suit says Brown was "begging forgiveness and pleading with her to train him again" after the incident. Taylor said she eventually agreed although she was "hesitant."
Nearly a year later, the lawsuit says Brown "cornered Ms. Taylor, forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcibly raped her."
In a statement from his attorney Darren Heitner, Brown denied "each and every allegation in the lawsuit" and called it a "money grab."
September 20 – Brown has reportedly send "intimidating" text messages to the second accuser
According to Sports Illustrated, Brown's second accuser received "intimidating" text messages from Brown.
The messages were sent on Wednesday night, after Sports Illustrated's initial report, from the same number Brown used to communicate with the artist in 2017, according to Sports Illustrated.
The message says the artist is a "super broke girl" and asks someone referred to as "Eric B" to "look up her background history." The messages also include a screenshot of an Instagram photo of young children with the message, "Those her kids and [Instagram], Eric. She's awfully broke clearly."
The artists' lawyer, Lisa J. Banks, sent a letter to the NFL on Thursday evening asking the league to end conduct that is "intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy."
The NFL responded to the letter within the hour and arranged for a phone call between the attorneys and investigators, according to Sports Illustrated's source. The Patriots and Brown's agent did not respond to Sports Illustrated's request for comment.
New tonight: Antonio Brown sent our source from Monday’s story menacing group text messages, including a picture of her children with instructions for his associates to investigate her.
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) September 20, 2019
September 20 – Brown is released by the Patriots
The Patriots announced the team released Brown on Friday afternoon shortly after Brown tweeted alluding to a separation from the team.
"The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the team said in a statement. "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."
— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019