Despite the rape allegations against him that emerged earlier this week, all signs point to Antonio Brown making his New England Patriots debut on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. According to Dan Patrick on his national radio show, the controversial star wide receiver will not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
After forcing a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders, Brown had one of the wildest off-seasons a single player has ever had. Between getting frostbite from a cryogenic chamber, a long dispute over his no-longer valid helmet, and reportedly heated showdowns with general manager Mike Mayock, Brown effectively forced his way out of the Bay Area before he ever played a snap.
The Patriots acquired him as a free agent, in what looked like a coup that could swing the power balance in the league further in their direction. Just days later, a former trainer and classmate of Brown’s accused him of rape and sexual assault on multiple occasions, filing a civil suit against him.
Brown and his team have denied all allegations, stating that any sexual contact between the two parties was consensual.
Initial reports were that the NFL was giving “serious consideration” to suspending Brown after the allegations. Instead, it appears that he is set to play in two days.
Earlier today, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that there was nothing coming from the NFL that indicated that he wouldn’t be allowed to play in Week 2.
Dan Patrick appears to back that up, reporting on his show that Brown would not be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which many speculated he may be once the story came out.
Dan reports that Antonio Brown will NOT be on the Commissioner's Exempt list
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) September 13, 2019
Things may change when Britney Taylor, Antonio Brown’s accuser, meets with the NFL down the road, and obviously when more is revealed through the lawsuit. As of now, it looks like the football-related parties are willing to let things play out, even in the face of serious criticism.
The Patriots, coming off of a 33-3 blowout win against the Steelers, face the Dolphins in Miami at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Update: Adam Schefter has confirmed Patrick’s report.
At this point, NFL will not place Antonio Brown on commissioner exempt list, as there is no criminal investigation, making him eligible to play Sunday vs. Miami, per sources. NFL has opened its investigation, which will include interviews with Antonio Brown and his accuser.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 13, 2019
It is unclear if anything can happen between now and Sunday for this to change. We’ll have more as it comes out.