Olivia Pan ’20
Chief Opinions Editor
On Friday, September 20th, it was officially announced that the Patriots would be releasing wide-receiver, Antonio Brown, due to rape and sexual misconduct allegations that have been swirling around him in recent weeks. Brown’s release from the Patriots came shortly after Sports Illustrated reported that Brown had sent a series of threatening and intimidating text messages to his second female accuser, who alleges Brown sexually harassed her while she painted a mural in his home. The Patriots received copies of these messages the day before his release. Nike also previously announced that same week that they would be severing their relationship with Brown.
According to the New York Times, the Patriots’ “initial silence and resistance to sidelining Brown during the N.F.L. investigation drew immediate criticism from fans, who said the team had ignored serious accusations in pursuit of wins.”
Every serious allegation being leveled against a person deserves a full investigation. Being accused of something does not automatically mean that a person is guilty. However, in light of new information, I personally believe that Brown is a sexual predator. And it is clear to me that the Patriots were looking out for their own self-interests, as usual, and were playing a game of wait and see with Brown. Only when other big names, like Nike, began jumping ship, did they decide to release Brown. It seemed that it was their intention to win as many games as possible until the heat became too much for them to appear neutral. This is a team that has been under a cloud before for crossing lines and being more than a bit shady to win a football season. Some detractors have even accused the team and its coaches of blatant cheating, so it came as no surprise to me that they were willing to let Brown continue playing for them during the rape investigation.
I think that the Patriots also signed Brown likely knowing of his troubled history with the Oakland Raiders. According to Time Magazine, Brown has a history which included being fined $215,073.53by the Raiders for “conduct detrimental to the team.” After being released from the Raiders, the Patriots signed Brown “almost immediately.” The Patriots have given off an air of simply not doing their own due diligence, or suspending play, while serious allegations are vetted, so long as they are able to stay the course to championships.
Head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick also refused to answer any questions from news reporters pertaining to the release of Brown or regarding the scandal overall. It’s cowardly. He spearheads this football team, and the roster of players on it. Thus, he has a responsibility to answer questions forthrightly and transparently, not act like he has been slighted every time a reporter asks the obvious.
That being said, if Antonio Brown worked in an office and was accused of sexual misconduct or rape, wouldn’t his bosses tell him to take a few days, or a few weeks off, until a full investigation cleared him? I guess that doesn’t happen when it’s an all-boy office. Well, Mr. Kraft and Mr. Belichick, at least you both jumped on the bandwagon as it rolled away. Bravo.