MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One of the highest profile athletes in sports was accused Tuesday of three counts of sexual assault, and the alleged victim is a Memphis native.
The 16-page lawsuit was filed Tuesday, and the legal teams for Antonio Brown and Britney Taylor provided statements Wednesday.
Taylor’s legal team released a statement Wednesday, saying in part, “Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape.”
Brown’s legal team has released a statement denying all allegations.
Brown has been the talk of the NFL offseason — one of the most prolific receivers in league history, Brown forced his way out of Oakland and onto the defending champion New England Patriots last week.
But Tuesday, Brown was hit with a civil lawsuit for three counts of sexual assault.
Taylor, the alleged victim, chose to file using her real name and identity, which advocates say can help the healing process.
“To come out publicly, not just with your family and friends but the entire world, takes a huge amount of courage. And for some victims, that’s really important for them, to say yes, this happened to me,” said Sandy Bromley, director of the Shelby County Crisis Center.
Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, said, “We value very much when people will put their names to this, because it then has the full credibility of that person standing up and saying, 'This happened this way, I was there.'”
Brown was able to practice Wednesday with the Patriots, business as usual. The team itself did not offer much reaction.
“On Antonio’s situation, both Antonio and his representatives have made statements, so I’m not going to be expanding on any of those. They are what they are," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We’ve looked into the situation. We’re taking it very seriously.”
While Brown is innocent until proven guilty, experts say Taylor’s sentiment is not uncommon among victims.
"Often times what they’re seeking is that validation. That, this did happen to me, and someone else should be held accountable for this,” Bromley said.
Numbers to know:
Shelby County Crime Victim Rape Crisis Center 24 Hour Hotline: 901-222-4350
Family Safety Center Hotline: 901-222-4400