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Report: Antonio Brown Accused of Rape in Federal Lawsuit

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Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of three incidents of sexual assault in a federal lawsuit, as first reported the New York Times.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday, the incidents occurred in June 2017 and May 2018, when Brown was still with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The suit claims Brown forced himself on a former college associate Britney Taylor, who was a gymnast at Central Michigan from 2010-11 that Brown later hired as a trainer. Brown played at Central Michigan from 2007-09.

According to the Times, Brown exposed himself and kissed Taylor without her permission, and masturbated onto her in 2017 and then “forcibly” raped her in 2018.

“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said to the Times in a statement released by her lawyer. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”

E-mails that Brown allegedly sent to Taylor were part of the lawsuit.

In a statement released by attorney Darren Heitner, Brown denied the allegations and claimed that “any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”

Heitner also claimed that Taylor had previously been involved in a scheme to defraud Brown.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that Brown intends to counter-sue Taylor for extortion.

It is unclear if Taylor ever filed charges against Brown with police in either incident.

Brown was traded from the Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March after a string of incidents that began with him walking out of the team’s Week 17 practice in 2018.

Off the field, Brown was cited for reckless driving and was sued by a celebrity chef and personal trainer.

He arrived at Oakland’s training camp via hot air balloon, but was largely absent, citing a frostbite injury from a cryotherapy chamber and engaging in a battle with the NFL over his preferred helmet being de-certified.

After eventually settling matters with the league, Brown was fined by the Raiders. He made those fines public, igniting an altercation with general manager Mike Mayock in which Brown reportedly threatened Mayock and referred to him with a racial slur.

The Raiders suspended and fined Brown and voided his contract guarantees, which prompted him to ask for his release. Late last week, the Raiders released Brown and he signed with the New England Patriots.

NFL

Ravens Will Defer 2020 Season Tickets To 2021

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The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday they will defer 2020 season tickets until 2021.

Single-game ticket sales for the 2020 season will also be discontinued, with refunds being issued to fans that have already bought them, the team said in a press release.

Still, the Ravens are holding out hope that fans will be allowed in stadiums this season, albeit in a limited capacity, with an expectation of less than 14,000 seat available. Baltimore added that attendance by fans and overall volume will be determined by “social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by health experts, governmental officials and the NFL.”

“To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary,” stated Ravens president Dick Cass. “We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible.”

While the Ravens appear to be lacking optimism regarding fan attendance in 2020, the also said they would resume selling tickets if the NFL releases a seating manifest that allows for fans come the fall.

“With over 62,000 season tickets already sold, there is no equitable way to accommodate in a limited stadium capacity all PSL Owners who are interested in maintaining season tickets for 2020,” stated senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman. “Under these unusual circumstances, it’s best to simplify the ticket sales process and allow fans to decide which games they want to attend, while giving our PSL Owners priority in accessing tickets.”

The NFL has not made any definitive decision regarding empty stadiums, but the Ravens seem to be the first organization to take a proactive approach fearing the worst.

Pittsburgh is still selling single game tickets, but in a limited capacity in anticipation of social distancing guidelines. The team also has a disclaimer on their website warning buyers of potential rescheduling or postponement of games, stating full refunds will be available for games that are not played.

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James Conner Surprises Mom with New House

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner warmed hearts last month when he surprised his father with a new truck.

Now, he is taking care of mom.

Conner recently surprised his mother with a brand new house, sharing her emotional reaction to Twitter on Saturday.

Conner was able to pull off the surprise for his mother, Kelly Bibbs, with the help of his brothers. While Bibbs may have not realized what exactly was going on at first, seeing her son James and the golden balloons arranged to say “Welcome Home” quickly gave it away.

Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry shared their thoughts on the big surprise, among other on social media.

Conner’s gesture is a continuation of an offseason of giving that saw him gift his father a brand new truck back on June 6.

Entering his fourth season out of Pitt, Conner is looking for a bounce back season following an injury plagued 2019 campaign. He rushed for 464 yards and four touchdowns, but played in only ten games for the Steelers.

Last season was a far cry from 2018, when Conner was a breakout sensation replacing Le’Veon Bell. He ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl honors.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year-old has something to prove in 2020.

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Report: NFL Teams Could Trim Training Camp Rosters More Than 13%

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NFL teams are reportedly considering bringing fewer players than normal to training camp this year in an effort to combat COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Instead of bringing the regular 90 players, Schefter’s sources say teams could bring just 80, or even 75 players to camp this August.

While it appears teams have the right idea in mind by trying to minimize the risk of COVID-19, shrinking training camp rosters will limit opportunities for fringe players attempting to find a landing spot.

Still, smaller rosters will allow for proposed social distancing in training camp in compliance with the league’s protocols announced last month. There are also plans to expand practice squad rosters to handle the likely inactives that will arise from positive tests, which will return roster slots to those barred from camp.

In another move to combat the coronavirus, several reports indicate the league is slashing the 2020 preseason in half. Each team will play their Week 2 and 3 exhibition games, but Weeks and 4 will be canceled. The Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Cowboys has already been called off.

These last two moves by the league are the first two instances of the NFL bending to the virus. The league had previously held the NFL Draft and free agency on time unimpeded, and is currently still planning on having fans in attendance this season, although that seems like a long-shot currently.

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