The de facto unpaid suspension of Antonio Brown continues.
The league is investigating Brown under the Personal Conduct Policy, based on allegations of sexual assault and rape contained in a civil lawsuit filed on September 10. He has not been arrested or charged, and there’s currently no reason to believe he will ever face criminal charges.
The NFL nevertheless has the power to explore the situation and to discipline Brown, if it concludes that he engaged in the conduct of which he is accused. But the league also has the power to put Brown on paid leave, and the league’s refusal to tell teams whether he’d be placed on paid leave if signed by a new team is keeping teams from signing him.
The NFL has yet to interview Brown, which will be perhaps the most important step in reaching a conclusion as to whether he officially should be suspended without pay. The problem for Brown is that the league’s refusal to say whether he’d be placed on paid leave if signed, coupled with the lingering investigation, puts him on suspension without pay.
Brown seemed to vent regarding the situation earlier today, tweeting this: “NFL investigation oh don’t make me laugh.” That may not be the best way to curry favor with those who will eventually be determining whether to suspend him, but it’s hard to blame him for being frustrated.