New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had no interest in discussing the latest allegations against wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is “on the roster” and presumably set to play against the Jets on Sunday.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, an artist that Brown hired in 2017 contacted the NFL on Thursday after receiving “threatening messages” following the publication of another SI story that detailed an alleged incident that took place in Brown’s home.
Per the initial report, the artist accused Brown of making an unwanted sexual advance, and then firing her after she did not reciprocate. On Wednesday, the artist received a series of group messages from a number she believes to be Brown’s. In the messages, the artist is accused of “[making] up stuff for money].” According to Sports Illustrated, the NFL set up a meeting between investigators and the artist’s legal representatives. On Monday, NFL investigators interviewed Britney Taylor, who accused Brown of rape and sexual assault in a civil lawsuit, for 10 hours.
On Friday, Belichick opened his press conference by praising the Jets staff, and offered a disclaimer that he wasn’t going to comment on any “off-the-field situations.”
Belichick: “I know there are questions about Antonio. We take all the situations with our team very seriously, and there are some things we’re looking into. I’m not going to have any comment on any of the off-the-field situations or questions on that.”
Bill Belichick Live Press Conference 9/20: https://t.co/hXlErSaCa5
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 20, 2019
Belichick then faced seven consecutive questions about Brown, and after giving a few short answers, the coach interrupted a reporter and walked out of the room.
Reporter: “As far as your work with Antonio in football, do the off-field accusations, allegations complicate your ability to coach him? Your feelings about him personally?”
Belichick: “When we work on football, we work on football.”
Reporter: “Can you talk about Antonio Brown’s role this weekend?”
Belichick: “Uh, no. I’m not going to get into that. We’re going to do what’s best for the team, like we always do.”
Reporter: “You always say you want what’s best for the team, so how do you weigh with your players their performance on the field with their behavior off the field. And what’s best for the team, overall?”
Belichick: “Yeah, well, that’s a big picture question. You know, we answer it the best we can. There’s no set formula.”
Reporter: “Well how important is the behavior off the field?”
Belichick: “Everything’s important.”
Reporter: “Bill, do you expect to have Antonio available to you on Sunday?”
Belichick: “He’s on our roster.”
Reporter: “Bill, another headline today focusing on Antonio Brown. Does any of this at all affect his status with the team?”
Belichick: “Yeah, I think I’ve already addressed this, so we’re gonna get ready for the Jets here. Happy to answer any football questions, but the rest of it…. I’m done with the rest of it.”
Reporter: “Was there ever a point where some of the off-field stuff.”
Belichick: “…. I’m good, OK?”