Nike And Patriots Fire Antonio Brown After Latest Allegations
Foxborough, MA – Newly-minted New England Patriots’ wide receiver Antonio Brown lost his endorsement deal with Nike on Wednesday and was cut from the Super Bowl-winning team on Friday in the wake of a second round of sexual assault allegations.
"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," the New England Patriots said in a statement, according to ESPN.
The shoe company was more direct.
"Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete," a Nike spokesman told the Boston Globe on Sept. 18.
Brown has suffered a brutal month professionally.
The National Football League (NFL) player was released by the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 7 after a series of controversies, including a confrontation where he allegedly called the team’s general manager a “cracker,” The New York Times reported.
He was signed by the New England Patriots only a few hours later with a one-year, $15 million contract, according to ABC News.
On Sept. 10, Brown’s former classmate and trainer from Central Michigan University filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida alleging that the football player sexually assaulted her three times, The New York Times reported.
Britney Taylor’s lawsuit claimed that the future NFL player sexually assaulted the gymnast on multiple occasions while they were both students at the university and Brown was playing on the football team.
The suit alleged that Brown kissed the now-28-year-old Taylor without her permission in June of 2017 and then later the same month, exposed himself to her and kissed her without consent while they were training in his Pittsburgh home.
The New York Times reported that Brown is accused of masturbating behind Taylor while the two were watching a church service on her iPad in Brown’s home in Miami and ejaculating on her back.
He apologized after that incident but went on to rape Taylor on May 20, 2017, the lawsuit said.
Despite the lawsuit, the 31-year-old Brown took the field for the Patriots on Sunday and made one touchdown and four catches for 56 yards.
On Monday, Sports Illustrated ran a story that included new allegations of sexual misconduct from an artist, domestic violence allegations, multiple reports of unpaid debts, and a theft from a charity auction, according to ESPN.
The artist’s attorney reached out to the NFL on Thursday and said Brown had been sending threatening text messages to his client.
The Patriot’s announced Brown’s release on Friday morning, meaning he won’t be collecting the first half of his signing bonus - $5 million – that he was supposed to get on Sept. 23, ESPN reported.
But before the NFL team gave Brown the boot, his sponsors had already started dropping like flies.
First, football helmet manufacturer Xenith ended its endorsement deal with Brown just a couple of day after his former trainer’s lawsuit was announced, ESPN reported.
Then Nike brought down the hammer and removed a $100 sneaker called the “Nike Tech Trainer Antonio Brown” from its website, according to Forbes.
The company refused to disclose any other details related to severing of their relationship with the football player, the Boston Globe reported.
In 10 seasons, Brown has earned an estimated $80.5 million in salary from NFL teams, not including his endorsement deals, ESPN reported.
He is eligible to play in the NFL while the league investigates the sexual assault and rape allegations, but it doesn’t look like anybody wants him associated with their team at this point.
Brown is a six-time Pro Bowl player and a four-time First-Team All Pro, according to ESPN.
He has caught 841 passes for 11,263 yards in his career for 75 touchdowns.