Antonio Brown has been in the news all off-season. After the wide receiver was released by the Oakland Raiders and signed by the New England Patriots, it seemed likely that Brown wouldn’t in people’s Twitter feeds quite as much. Then Tuesday night it was reported Brown was accused of sexual assault and rape and that a civil lawsuit had been filed in a Florida court this week.
These allegations are obviously much more serious than any of the shenanigans Brown pulled while with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Raiders. So what should the NFL do with Brown right now? The NFL needs to place Antonio Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Antonio Brown Must Be Placed on Commissioner’s Exempt List
These allegations are incredibly serious and there simply isn’t enough information at this point to know exactly what is going and who is guilty of what. The NFL has also grossly mishandled too many cases of domestic abuse in the past. The only path the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell can take at this juncture is to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list.
What That Would Mean
If the league does in fact go down this road Brown would be ineligible to play each week that he remains on the commissioner’s exempt list, and he wouldn’t count against the Patriots 53-man roster, but he would still receive a paycheck. It’s essentially the same as someone being put on paid administrative leave. However, the teams themselves cannot put a player on the exempt list. That power lies solely with the league and Goodell.
The Patriots organization has released a statement where they stated that they are aware of the situation and that they’d have no further comment while the investigation takes place.
If Brown (or any player) is placed on the commissioner’s exempt list he wouldn’t be eligible or allowed to attend games or practices, but he could attend meetings and/or receive any medical treatment he needs at the team’s facility.
The NFL and Goodell utilizing the exempt list would allow the league to gather more information before making a decision regarding any punishment. If the league were to rush this and outright suspend Brown only to find out he’s innocent, that would be a bad look. If they allow Brown to play and find out he is guilty of sexual assault and rape, that would be an absolutely horrific look.
The best way for the NFL to proceed right now is to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, take their time to gather all of the pertinent information and then make an informed decision. It is important to remember that Brown isn’t actually facing any criminal charges and faces no jail time, as it was a civil suit that was filed. But the NFL can dole out discipline regardless of what is happening legally. They just need to make sure they have all of the facts and information before they make a decision. However, if Brown is guilty he needs to be out of the NFL.