As Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown makes his return to the NFL tonight, the lingering off-field issue that could derail his latest second chance most likely won’t come to a head during the current season.
Brown recently sought a delay in the previously-scheduled December 2020 trial date. Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com recently reported, and PFT has confirmed, that plaintiff Britney Taylor has indicated in a court filing that she won’t oppose the delay.
A delay at this point seems inevitable, especially since so little of the usual pre-trial discovery has happened in the case. No witnesses, for example, has given pre-trial deposition testimony.
Per a source with knowledge of the litigation, it’s definitely possible that Brown’s deposition will happen during the 2020 season. Brown likely would resist it, for various reasons. Obviously, he could claim he’s focused on the current football season and that, once the season ends, he’ll have plenty of time to submit to the process.
It would be a smart decision, given that Brown has a history of not being entirely cooperative when placed under oath in a deposition setting. Any improper behavior while testifying coupled with the substance of Brown’s testimony in response to allegations of sexual assault and rape could prompt the league office to take further action against Brown, even without a verdict in the lawsuit. For now, the league concluded to take no action against Brown for the alleged sexual assault and rape, opting instead to monitor the litigation.
Without a settlement, Brown will have to deal the lawsuit, eventually. As Kaplan noted, Taylor has expressed a desire to question Brown’s cousin, Ravens receiver Marquise Brown, under oath as part of the discovery process.
Marquise Brown is the unnamed player mentioned in Taylor’s original lawsuit. Taylor claims Marquise Brown may be a witness to events culminating in an alleged rape happening in May 2018.
The key witnesses ultimately will be Antonio Brown and Britney Taylor. Given that they surely will tell sharply different stories, the case will come down to whether a jury believes Antonio Brown, or whether it believes Britney Taylor.