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Patriots Trade Demaryius Thomas to Jets

Thomas did not play in Week 1 due to a hamstring injury. The Jets will be his fourth team in the past 10 months or so.

Comments

58 comments, Last at 20 Sep 2019, 2:15pm

1 Well, there might be some…

Well, there might be some much bigger Antonio Brown fallout coming then that. The New York Times published an article within the last hour revealing there's a lawsuit against AB accusing him of rape.

3 When text messages or emails…

When text messages or emails from Brown's phone are published, in which he gives an account of his sexual assault of another person, the judgement really isn't being rushed. Absent a  claim by Brown that those texts are fraudulent, with some kind of corroboration that such an implausibility may have occurred, there's no way the league can let him play.

What did lawyers do in the era prior to sex offenders giving digitized accounts of the torts visited on their victims? Reminds me of Stringer Bell in "The Wire" incredulously asking his dim-witted henchmen, after issuing a new set of instructions, "You takin' written notes on a mutherf*ckin' criminal conspiracy!!??".

5 If only...

If only he had some kind of mentor on his team that could show him how to properly destroy a celphone to prevent evidence on it from being discovered.....

 

 

7 Even if the league was…

In reply to by andrew

Even if the league was inclined to protect this guy, which it isn't, the texts make it impossible to manage the narrative, and the reaction by the general public. Unless a credible account is produced within 1 or 2 days, with regard to how these texts might be fraudulent, he'll never play for the Patriots. I wouldn't be surprised if the Pats cut him tomorrow. I wonder if the money's been transferred for the signing bonus yet.

25 I think the chances of there…

I think the chances of there not being a personal conduct provision in the contract that would invalidate it and cause forfeiture of virtually the entire signing bonus is pretty close to nil.

12 Yes, I read them. Brown…

Yes, I read them. Brown adopts a profane, gloating tone, in describing his sexual assault of the plaintiff, an assault which did not entail penetration. It seems possible to me that he is such a towering moron that he doesn't grasp that ejaculating on someone without their consent is a criminal offense, thus he was willing to digitally record his account of the criminal behavior he subjected the victim to. Fiction simply cannot keep pace with reality. It would be humorous, if not for the suffering of the victim, especially in light of her allegation of later behavior by Brown, which can only be described as violent first degree sexual assault.

15 I haven't seen these texts,…

I haven't seen these texts, but if they're the "smoking gun" you seem to think they are, I have to wonder why criminal charges haven't been filed.  Generally, when these sorts of accusations are brought in a civil lawsuit, it's because there's not enough evidence to convince the DA to file criminal charges.  Meanwhile, according to Josina Anderson, Brown is planning to file a countersuit for "civil extortion" (not sure what exactly that means).  So, I guess we'll see what happens.

17 I've not read anything about…

I've not read anything about whether the texts have been given to law enforcement, and I'm not sure about how the behavior described, ejaculating on an unsuspecting person without their consent, would be treated in Florida. I have to believe it is against the law, but for all I know it is a petty misdemeanor, and the proof of that crime may not even be admissable in a trial for the alleged violent 1st degree criminal sexual assault. So, the fact that law enforcement isn't involved is not something I find particularly unusual, at least with regard to the behavior described in the texts.

Is it possible that Brown describes himself assaulting the plaintiff, despite never having done so? Or that the texts have been concocted, and it isn't Brown who wrote them? Sure, anything's possible. It's possible I might win the lottery if I buy a ticket.Unless Brown's lawyers give the league pretty compelling reason to think that one of those very unlikely events have occurred, and it is given very soon, I don't see why the league wouldn't put him on the ineligible list until it gets resolved, because letting a guy play after he brags in a text about ejaculating on an unsuspecting woman is not good for business.

20 What a Mess

Based on the ESPN article, it certainly seems that if the allegations in the deposition are true there should have been a criminal case to be had if she reported it and cooperated (the deposition includes allegations of three separate incidents, one of which involved being forced onto a bed and raped). If the civil attorneys obtained the text messages in discovery (as seems likely), then the DA could certainly have gotten them in a criminal case. The incidents happened in 2017 so it's very likely that if criminal charges were going to happen they would have happened by now. 

None of this is to dispute her claim, selective prosecution in criminal cases especially with a potentially reluctant key witness seems to be a thing (e.g. Jeffry Epstein) - but it's does suggest his defense of "she's just trying to shake me down for money" isn't totally implausible from the outside. If the claims in the deposition are true there should be physical evidence to corroborate them so we should know pretty definitively once this plays out.

I don't envy the commissioner on days like this - lots of civil allegations are frivolous and if he puts AB on the commissioners exempt and it turns out the facts of the deposition are not sound he's inviting nine-figure litigation against the NFL because of the unique contractual position AB is in N.B. the NFL has a very poor record in court defending these cases. On the other hand if the claims of the deposition are true AB shouldn't play in the NFL again.

21 The lawsuit was just filed…

In reply to by sbond101

The lawsuit was just filed. There has been no discovery. The texts contained in the lawsuit are from the victim's phone or email account. Look, in the texts, Brown plainly writes, in a taunting manner, that he ejaculated on the victim. There are only 3 ways this is not a forthright admission of sexual assault. 1) Brown tries to claim that she consented to having Brown do that, 2) Brown tries to claim that he wrote that he ejaculated on her despite not having done so, 3) Brown tries to claim that these messages are fraudulently attributed to him. That's it. 1) is his best option, but the taunting tone of the message certainly more closely aligns with her account of how this incident unfolded.

This admission by Brown, of course, may have no criminal legal bearing on her other two allegations of being sexually assaulted by him, but I'm just looking at this through the prism of Brown as a NFL player. It seems overwhelmingly likely that he forthrightly admitted, via texts or emails to the victim,  to visiting a sexual assault on her.  I think it likely he did so because he's as dumb as a kicking tee, and didn't understand that it's against the law to jack off on an unsuspecting fellow human being without their consent, even if you have had consensual sex with the person in the past.

Now, if there is a faintly plausible explanation for those messages that don't entail a forthright admission of sexual assault, I'm pretty sure we'll be hearing before Friday. I think that is pretty unlikely.

33 I have to wonder why…

I have to wonder why criminal charges haven't been filed.  

Possibly because dealing with the police after you've been sexually assaulted is a traumatic experience in itself. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to talk to a police officer who is likely to be hostile towards the victim, especially when it's a woman.

19 It's not entirely clear to…

It's not entirely clear to me from reading the messages (as indecipherable as the language is) whether Brown is indeed gloating; it seems plausible that he is reacting with incredulity against the accusations. It would be helpful to see them in the context of the full exchange (assuming there is an exchange).

However, I'm sure you are correct that any legal process must take the messages literally (as far as possible), and as such it is very much up to Brown to prove either they are fake, or provide counter-evidence etc. 

23 His first sentence, in the…

His first sentence, in the first message is....

"I jack my dick on your back!"

...which you may read as an expression of incredulity, but I do not. Again, this message was sent shortly after the event, not in response to any formal legal document. The specificity of the sentence, in terms of where he, um, aimed, certainly suggests a description of what behavior he in fact did engage in, as opposed to an incredulous response  to hearing that she was falsely claiming that he ejaculated on her.

It may be not enough for a jury if beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard, but if the standard is who is more likely to be truthful (propensity of the evidence), I'm not betting that the jury buys the "Hey, I was just being incredulous!" theory.

26 To be clear, I'm not aiming…

To be clear, I'm not aiming to leap to his defense. Yes, taken alone, that statement is damning. But there are other parts of the message that, from my interpretation, create some ambiguity (what does he mean by "f*** your knowledge" and having "a laugh about this sh*t....."?). 

But I'm not legally trained, so I've no idea whether this angle would be worth anything in Brown's defense. It's just what came to my mind reading the messages (and again I must stress, I believe myself to be unbiased here).

If I was to make a decision probabalistically on this evidence alone then clearly guilty is favorite. However, I'd prefer to at least see the entire conversation before reaching a final decision.

 

29 I agree that Brown doesn't…

I agree that Brown doesn't come off as incredulous, but there are other legal interpretations.  An easy analog would be the proverbial "locker room talk" where one guy  portrays consensual sex as a conquest to another.  This could be much the same, only with Taylor being the one boasted to in an effort to belittle her.  Given Brown's emotional instability and lousy writing skills, I see no reason to disregard this possibility.  At the very least, implying he "confessed" is a significant overreach.

Brown seems like a prick who could easily have done this and Taylor's story leaves me scratching my head in a few spots, so I'm not going to lean in either direction until more data surfaces.  

As for Brown the football player, I didn't want him in the first place, so unless he can paint a convincing picture of his innocence, I'd prefer to move on.  Not to presume guilt, but this guy had a checkered past before the last few months.  And even the legal interpretation above illuminates some serious character flaws.

31 Outcomes

I think what's going to happen here is that Goodell will put him on the commissioners exempt list to try to avoid the PR nightmare while limiting risk on the other side if it becomes clear the accusation is false. The NFL will investigate, and either decide on discipline at some point this fall; God only knows what the truth here, but there's a good chance enough evidence exists to independently verify the allegations if they are true. If even most of it is true I hope the Florida DA gets embarrassed into prosecution.

36 The primary reason I think…

The primary reason I think the defense of "Hey, I was just describing ejaculating on the back of someone who consented to me doing so!" is very unlikely to be true is that this would be a pretty unusual consensual sex act, in the context of writing about it to the consenting partner in an email at a later time, in that manner. Lord knows human sexuality has endless variations, and I'm no expert,  but if I had to make a bet on whether that sentence descrbes a person consenting to being ejaculated upon, or whether that sentence describes someone who did not, I'd very, very, easily would choose the latter.

41 Brown Allegations

"this would be a pretty unusual consensual sex act"

FWIW, I've had two separate instances where someone described doing such while regaling their sexual exploits, one of those at the behest of their partner.  It probably isn't common, but I don't think it moves the needle in either direction by itself.

"in the context of writing about it to the consenting partner in an email at a later time"

This I agree with.  Throwing something otherwise benign in someone's face during a fight is normal, but this is an odd selection to make.  Perhaps the sex was consensual but she wasn't thrilled with the ending?  A little tiff that lingered and became inflamed in the heat of the moment?  It's not hard to reconcile, but it takes some tap dancing. 

The problem for me is her story takes just as much tap dancing to smooth out, so I find myself in a position where I don't trust either party enough to choose a side.  The only safe bet is that, regardless of how everything unfolds, I will walk away from this disliking Brown even more than I did two days ago.

44 What tap dancing is required…

What tap dancing is required to accept her story? She's a young person of modest means who sees a business opportunity with someone who makes millions of dollars. The rich person exposes himself and kisses her as a really gross approach to seduction. That happens all the time. She maintains the relationship because she needs the work. That happens all the time, too. He then at a later date ejaculates on her, and he breaks off the relationship when she talks about the incident to a fellow emoloyee. After a period of seperation, he approaches her again, apologizes, and offers to hire her again. She still needs money, so she agrees. He then violently rapes her, and she ends the relationship, but does not call law enforcement. Sadly, it is not unusual for rape victims to not contact law enforcement.

Now, I'm pretty neutral on allegation 1&3. I'm about 90% sure allegation 2 occurred, for the simple reason that Brown wrote that he ejaculated on her, and you really have to tap dance to turn that into a consensual act, especially if the fellow employee will corroborate that she spoke to him about Brown doing so.

Would I cast a vote to criminally penalize Brown at this point? No. Am I sure enough that Brown ejaculated on someone without their consent, that I would not let him prominently represent my enterprise in an industry where the warm and fuzzy feelings of my customers, about my product are important, absent Brown producing some powerful exculpatory  evidence within about 48 hours? Yep.

45 "That happens all the time,…

"That happens all the time, too."

Yes, much of this happens all the time, and each individual claim sounds believable enough, it's the totality of it that strains my credulity.  You aren't talking about mere uncomfortable sexual innuendo, you're talking about a man who ejaculated on you without your permission - when you didn't even know he was masturbating right next to you! - after already exposing himself and forcing himself upon you.  That isn't something an apology alone should move beyond.  

"Sadly, it is not unusual for rape victims to not contact law enforcement."

Of course, but it is uncommon for them to not contact law enforcement despite supposedly having damning evidence while also filing a civil suit.  Generally speaking, what motivates victims to not call the police is the same thing that motivates them to avoid a civil suit.  

Her post-assault use of Brown's image on social media (assuming this can be verified, which I would expect since it was mentioned by Brown's attorneys) also ring inconsistent with her allegations.

IMO, there are enough questions on both sides to withhold judgment for the time being.  As I said earlier, I didn't want Brown on the team before this came out, so I would prefer to move on as well.

46 I really don't think it is…

I really don't think it is inconsistent at all for a person to continue to use their association with their sexual assailant as a means to get money. If you need money bad enough you'll do what is legally necessary to get it, including mentioning your professional association with your sexual assailant.

The evidence for allegations 1 and 3 is pretty thin so far. The allegation for 2  is pretty strong, since the defendant wrote a contemporeaneous, hostile, statement in which he described doing what the plaintiff alleged, the only question being whether the plaintiff consented to the defendant doing so. If you wish to assert that it is anywhere close to being as likely that he engaged in that behavior on a  consensual basis, as opposed to it being done on a nonconsensual basis, because a person watching something on a screen which typically includes fairly loud musical performances, would have known that a person standing behind her was masturbating, o.k.. I disagree, and that's o.k., too.

 

51 "I really don't think it is…

"I really don't think it is inconsistent at all for a person to continue to use their association with their sexual assailant as a means to get money."

"Inconsistent" may be the wrong word, since it can be reconciled.  It just requires some assumptions to make probable, that's all.  And at this point, there are too many assumptions on both sides to lean in either direction.

"If you wish to assert that it is anywhere close to being as likely that he engaged in that behavior on a  consensual basis, as opposed to it being done on a nonconsensual basis"

I don't recall doing so.  To the contrary, even one of the "legal" interpretations involved some surprise on her part.  My point was that it was a bridge too far to portray his tirade as a confession.  

EDIT:  What I don't think is in dispute is that Brown's intent was abusive when he sent the texts and he viewed the sex act as degrading of Taylor.  Even a pro-Brown interpretation is going to have to reconcile those points, IMO.

52 Fair enough. I should not…

Fair enough. I should not have used "confession". Again, absent the text that begins with a plain statement of having engaged in the essential behavior of what the plaintiff claims, the only element not being plainly stated is that of consent, I'd see this quite with much less confidence in probabilities.

48 2nded

"Of course, but it is uncommon for them to not contact law enforcement despite supposedly having damning evidence while also filing a civil suit.  Generally speaking, what motivates victims to not call the police is the same thing that motivates them to avoid a civil suit." - This is the crux of the argument that suggests skepticism is warranted. It's true that an unknown number of criminal rapes and sexual assults don't result in criminal charges (this number is speculated to be large, but since all the claims in question are untested who knows) - it's also true that not filing a police report for a violent rape will be a touchstone for his attorneys in the civil case to undermine her credability, as will not filing the case for almost 2 years & returning to his employ after the events discussed above (which on there own would have given her a civil suit worth much more than her job). 

Who knows what really happened here, but the perspective "90% it happened and was sexual assult" doesn't look to me like how it would play out in civil court if there arn't material facts we don't know about. I hope for the NFL's sake that one party or the other has more here so that they don't have to make a call based on this - because the collapse of AB's huge deal with the Raiders means that the commissioners exempt list will definately not save them from a huge lawsuit if they want him off the field for (valid) PR reasons.

57 Checkered past indeed!

Yeah, he's been inviting legal problems for the past year, at least. As a Pats fan, this is terrible stuff and I'm not pleased to yet again have ownership compromise my fandom with poor decision-making:  

"This is one of several legal incidents involving Brown within the past 12 months. He acted “without regard for human life” when he threw furniture from his 14th-floor apartment balcony onto the ground below, coming within 2 feet of hitting a 22-month-old boy, according to a separate lawsuit filed in Florida and reported by TMZ in October 2018. In a separate incident in January 2019, Brown pushed Wiltrice Jackson, the mother of his daughter, to the ground with both hands after she asked him to repay money for their daughter’s hair appointment, according to Jackson’s statement in a police report. The next month, Brown skipped a court date for reckless driving when he was accused of going over 100 mph in Ross Township, Pennsylvania. He was found guilty in his absence. Last month Brown was sued by a chef whose lawsuit said Brown refused to pay him more than $38,000 for meals Brown requested during Pro Bowl weekend in January. Brown was also sued in August by Sean Pena, a personal trainer who said Brown owes him more than $7,000 for services provided, according to court documents obtained by TMZ. The reckless driving conviction is the only one of those incidents to involve a criminal charge."

Source: https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2019/9/11/20860107/antonio-brown-rape-sexual-assault-lawsuit-trainer

4 To add on, there's no way…

To add on, there's no way Aaron Hernandez's former team can let this guy play in a game. Darth will not be able to control the media on this like he normally does.

8 Not sure he controls the…

Not sure he controls the media, he just treats them the way Donnie Wahlberg treats Feds in The Departed.  But yeah, I'm doubting Brown lasts there, especially if he did not give them a heads up about this.  Based on week 1, they don't need him. 

As far as trading Demaryius, they were probably keeping younger guys at the position... which is what I would want the Jets to do.  Still hoping Gase only lasts this year.

9 Someone on the Pats Pulpit…

Someone on the Pats Pulpit website pointed out a quote from Belichick about signing Albert Haynesworth even though he had a sexual assault charge, basically, "We all make mistakes".  It's from Michael Giardi's twitter feed, so who knows how accurate that is, but perhaps we shouldn't assume anything right now, other than this is a PR nightmare for the league.  The Patriots might be fine with being the Bad Boys of the NFL as long as they win.  Not a good look for the league though.
 

13 Haynesworth was a long time…

Haynesworth was a long time ago, in an entirely different atmosphere. If Brown's lawyers can put forth a nonridiculous account of how these texts are fakes, in the next day or two, Brown may play for the Patriots. Absent that, my guess is they cut him.

53 nah, the Bulls first…

nah, the Bulls first threepeat was with a player they drafted, Horace Grant, in the "third Hall of Famer" Dennis Rodman role, Jordan didn't have to recruit anyone for that

54 That's fair, although they…

That's fair, although they still had >= HOFers than the Suns or Blazers. (Vlade, of all people, puts the 1991 Lakers over the top -- a shockingly good way to predict NBA Finals is a straight comparison of HOFers on the roster)

30 Don't Agree

I really don't get this take; Does anyone see any real evidence that less people are going to watch the Patriots on TV or buy tickets because of this issue? AB has real legal problems, the NFL has a league-wide PR problem that the athletes are definitively not perceived "wholesome" - this incident won't help. But I really can't see that there will be anything worse than some twitter outrage directed toward Robert Kraft associated with this incident - cancel culture is definitively not going to "get" NE or Robert Kraft, and I can't imagine he's remotely afraid that it will. Equally I find it implausible the NFL players are going to start being reluctant to sign with NE/Kraft because of perception here - there has been no similar backlash against other owners who have done bad things in the past.

32 It will become harder for…

In reply to by sbond101

It will become harder for other owners to shield Kraft from criticism if he's playing AB.

I can see other owners preventing their jumbotron operators from playing the video where Kraft gets jacked off by a foreign-trafficked sex slave, but it's harder to prevent fans from bringing signs criticizing AB or relating the two.

Maybe they will have a really solid come back.

37 There was no legally…

There was no legally provable connection showable by an alien sex worker as it regarded an out-of-state billionairre who has a sitting POTUS on speed-dial.

\incidentally, the new posting format hijacks auto-highlight spell correction with some useless copy/paste crap.

38 An middle aged woman getting…

An middle aged woman getting paid by a connected billionaire for handjobs is likely a slave because she's a green card holding alien?

Look, no matter what one thinks of Kraft and his associates, there's just no reason to think that the sex workers who serviced Kraft were slaves.

39 Let's meet in the middle and…

Let's meet in the middle and agree he was videorecorded being ejeculated by a middle-aged sex worker masquerading as a masseuse in a south Florida strip mall.

 

Let's also agree he has a history of employing a murderer, has transferred possession of one of his SB rings to a foreign head of state and enemy of the US, and his emcee is a convicted hate criminal. 

42 Like I said, I've taken a…

Like I said, I've taken a dim view of some stuff about Pats through the years, but there was zero evidence of any human trafficking in the massage parlors that were investigated, that Kraft was caught up in. That was just bullshit trotted out by law enforcement to justify a massive waste of resources. I don't really care about widowers who pay cash to aporeciative middle aged women who provide hand jobs.

40 Actually according to reports

There is ample reason to believe this. It's basically how these systems work. Kraft probably didn't know, or care to know the details of how these women end up in that industry, but the documentation on how these places work is well known. Pretending it isn't, is basically dishonest.

 

I don't know if people are going to start hating Tom Brady or this Pats team because the old rich owner of the team he's on went to an AMP. It seems to have no effect on ratings nor should I expect it would. Nor does it take away from what the Patriots might do this year with a QB in basically uncharted age territory. They seem well positioned to win the AFC east again. They will also likely package this Jets pick to move around in the draft. Moving a player for a pick that the Jets could likely have got off waivers or could have signed just a few weeks ago. They willingness to dump him n the Jets probably shows that the Pats do not fear their division at all.