The wheels of justice move slowly, and that works to the advantage of Buccaneers receivers Antonio Brown.
Via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the civil lawsuit against Brown alleging sexual lawsuit and rape will go to trial on December 6, 2021.
The case originally had been set for trial this month. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has said that the team will defer to the court system in deciding whether Brown should stay on the team. The delay means that the case won’t jeopardize Brown’s roster spot in 2020, since there won’t be a verdict for another year, at the earliest.
That’s no guarantee he’ll be on the team in 2021, however. At some point, Brown will be questioned under oath in a deposition setting. What he says or doesn’t say, and how he behaves or doesn’t behave, could prompt the Buccaneers to move on and/or the league to move in. The NFL has made no decision as to whether Brown committed sexual assault and rape of Britney Taylor, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Although a jury verdict surely will persuade the team and the league as to whether he did what he’s accused of doing, the transcript and video of the deposition could create separate problems for Brown, even if there’s never a trial.
Brown lost the lawsuit filed against him for damage to a luxury apartment in Miami in part because of his conduct during multiple depositions and otherwise in the pre-trial process. The judge eventually declared a default judgment, the legal equivalent of a forfeit. If Brown disrespects the process and stonewalls and evades questions that go to the heart of the claims against him, the Bucs could decide not to bring him back, and the league could decide that there’s enough evidence to conclude that he committed sexual assault and/or rape, imposing another suspension that quite possibly would end his career.