SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports activities’ Nancy Armour provides her tackle the most recent drama surrounding Antonio Brown and why it is casting a shadow on what must be a celebratory yr for the NFL.
Within the fast paced international of Antonio Brown tendencies, an afternoon can really feel like a life-time. So, because the hours ticked off and afternoon became night time on Wednesday, the day after Brown was once accused of rape, sexual attack and sexual harassment via his former instructor in a federal lawsuit, a query hung within the air:
The place was once the NFL?
The New England Patriots, Brown’s newest crew, stated in a remark that the NFL was once investigating, however there was now not one peep from probably the most robust league within the nation.
For precisely 5 years and 3 days – the period of time that has elapsed from the instant we first noticed the video of Ray Rice’s punch of his then-fiancee Janay Palmer to at this time – the NFL has spent numerous time telling us how a lot it cares about girls.
There were some hits and misses on that matter evidently, however the breaking information in regards to the lawsuit Tuesday evening offered the league with a chance that might easiest be described as a lay-up.
Antonio Brown warms up all over his first observe with the Patriots on Wednesday. (Photograph: Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports activities)
Nobody but is aware of who’s telling the reality, Brown or Britney Taylor, who selected to make her identify public as she offered the allegations, but when we’ve discovered anything else within the #MeToo generation, it’s that we must concentrate to ladies.
That doesn’t imply kicking Brown out of the league, and even postponing him. Now not but, and in all probability now not ever.
What it approach is taking the lawsuit severely sufficient to stash Brown away someplace in the interim whilst Taylor’s allegations are investigated.
That someplace? The commissioner’s exempt listing, where the place the NFL’s dangerous boys cross to receives a commission and get out of the best way.
The NFL isn’t a court docket of legislation. It’s a sports activities league that understandably cares very a lot about optics. It may also keep watch over what it places at the box for public intake.
This coming Sunday, Brown’s Patriots will play the Dolphins in Miami. Allow us to all image the scene if Brown is at the box. Let’s envision the gamers and groups across the league who can be given short-shrift if Brown, the person newly accused of sexual attack, is catching Tom Brady’s passes, in all probability scoring touchdowns and in most cases changing into the face of the league.
This wouldn’t be the dream begin to the league’s much-ballyhooed 100th season that the NFL has expected. It might be a nightmare.
However it’s so simply have shyed away from. Through the years, the listing of gamers who’ve landed at the commissioner’s exempt listing come with Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Kareem Hunt. Some have referred to as it paid depart. For others, it’s extra of a penalty field.
For now, it is the easiest position for Brown, no less than in the interim. He’s now not to blame of anything else at this time (rather than the previous few weeks’ ridiculousness). However, with accusations pending, together with graphic textual content messages that might corroborate one among Taylor’s allegations, he shouldn’t have the privilege of enjoying soccer this week, now not within the NFL of 2019.
The league has more and more turn into a reflect of American society, with the Rice tale from 2014, the Donald Trump-Colin Kaepernick fight and a fan base that the league says is more and more made up of girls and women, as much as 45% now of the NFL’s total general.
The NFL is solely as a lot part of U.S. tradition because the #MeToo motion. They co-exist in 21st century The usa, and that’s the reason accurately.
So, earlier than an excessive amount of time is going via, the NFL must get Brown off the sphere for so long as essential. This one is inconspicuous. It has the commissioner’s exempt listing written all over the place it.