(Reuters) – The National Football League (NFL) on Friday suspended wide receiver Antonio Brown for the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 campaign for violating its personal conduct policy.
A woman told Sports Illustrated https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/09/19/antonio-brown-accuser-text-messages in September that Brown fired her from a job at his home in 2017 after she rejected an “unwanted sexual advance” from him and said he later sent her intimidating text messages.
An attorney for the accuser told the publication that she then sought an intervention on the matter from the NFL.
An attorney for Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown, an unrestricted free agent who has played the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was sentenced to two years’ probation in a Florida court in June after pleading no contest to charges that he assaulted a truck driver.
Brown signed with the New England Patriots in 2019 but was released by the team after playing one game amid accusations of sexual assault from his former trainer, who alleged in a civil lawsuit that Brown raped her at his Miami home in May 2018, and in June 2017 had forcibly kissed her and assaulted her.
Brown denied the accusations and in November met with the league.
An ESPN report https://www.espn.co.uk/nfl/story/_/id/29572202/nfl-gives-antonio-brown-8-game-suspension-violating-personal-conduct-policy said he may face further discipline after that investigation concludes.
The NFL said Brown must continue a counseling and treatment program and that further violations would “likely result in more significant discipline.”
Brown announced his retirement from the NFL after the Patriots released him in September but later signaled an interest in returning to the league.
Earlier this month, the 32-year-old said again that he was hanging up his cleats, but reversed his stance days later, asking that the league resolve its investigations so that he could talk with teams.
The NFL said the seven-time Pro Bowler was free to sign with any club.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris and Matthew Lewis)