Antonio Brown Released From Patriots Amid Controversy

"Thank you for the opportunity @Patriots #GoWinIt," Brown tweeted

Antonio Brown was released from the New England Patriots Friday, the team said in a statement. The wide receiver had played just one game for the team.

"Thank you for the opportunity @Patriots #GoWinIt," Brown tweeted.

The team released a short statement announcing Brown was released: "The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

Earlier Friday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick walked out of a news conference after reporters asked seven Antonio Brown-related questions in a row.

Brown's short time with the team — he was signed two weeks ago — was marked by controversy, including a civil lawsuit filed in federal court accusing him of rape. Brown has denied that allegation.

The Patriots were Brown's third team in under a year. He left the Pittsburgh Steelers after agitating for a move, then joined the Oakland Raiders only to be cut amid a dispute with their general manager.

When he signed with the Patriots, fresh off a Super Bowl victory, it was a major boost to an already potent offense, creating one of the best receiver corps in the league.

He scored in his debut with the Patriots this Sunday.

But he also faced two allegations of sexual misconduct: the rape and sexual assault charges alleged by his former trainer as well as a woman, whose name was with held in a Sports Illustrated report, alleging he approached her with a towel covering her genitals at his house in 2017.

Brown denied that allegation as well. But on Thursday, lawyers representing the second accuser sent a letter to the NFL showing "insulting and threatening" text messages that Brown allegedly sent the woman after the Sports Illustrated report was published.

The lawyers said Friday that they had spoken with NFL officials since sending the letter and they had promised to investigate.

Brown hasn't addressed the letter on social media. His agent tweeted that the player is "looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL."

"It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots. But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon," Drew Rosenhaus said on Twitter.

The law firm representing Brown's first accuser had no comment on the Patriots releasing him.

Attorneys for his second accuser released a statement saying that the Patriots and league "clearly took our client's concerns seriously" and saying that the woman hopes that she won't receive any more threats — something they were apparently assured the NFL would continue to investigate.

"We are gratified that the NFL recognized that it has an important role to play in policing player conduct that is sexually harassing and threatening," that statement concluded.

The NFL acknowledged that it was investigating the allegations against Brown, who has become an unrestricted free agent. The league said it had made no findings yet.

"As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner's exempt list is not appropriate," the league said. "If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.

Along with several tweets thanking the Patriots sent Friday, Brown shared an image of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was fatally shot in South L.A. earlier this year, that was captioned, "Sometimes people try to destroy you precisely because they recognize your power; not because they don't see it, but because they see it and they don't want it to exist."

The line comes from a book by feminist author bell hooks.

The Patriots had a deadline of Monday to pay Brown $5 million, the first installment of the wide receiver's signing bonus, though it's possible the team had already paid him the money, NBC Sports Boston reported.

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