Antonio Brown, the all-star former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has countersued the woman who accused him of rape, claiming she retaliated after he declined to invest more than $1.5 million in her gymnastics business.
Brown, 31, a seven-time All-Pro with the Steelers, hasn't played in the National Football League since late September, when the New England Patriots cut him after the woman, Britney Taylor, sued him in Broward County, Florida, Circuit Court.
Taylor, 28, alleged that Brown, whom she knew because they both attended Central Michigan University, hired her to be his personal trainer in 2017. In her lawsuit, which seeks undisclosed damages at trial, she accuses him of sexually assaulting her twice that year before she cut off contact with him, and once in 2018 after he made contact with her to apologize.
In a response filed Wednesday, Brown counterclaimed that Taylor was seeking retribution because he followed his business advisers' advice to turn down Taylor's repeated requests that he invest $1.645 million in Taylor'ed Gymnastics Training Center, the studio she operates in Memphis, Tennessee.
The counterclaim, which seeks costs and unspecified damages at trial for defamation and wrongful interference with Brown's business relationships, contends it was Taylor who sought to initiate a romantic relationship and that any sex she and Brown had was consensual.
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"During this time period Taylor and Brown were filmed in romantic and sexually suggestive positions and situations, wherein her consent is evident," it says.
As a consequence, the counterclaim alleges, Brown has been deprived of millions of dollars in endorsement payments and business opportunities. The sports apparel company Nike and the football helmet manufacturer Xenith both canceled endorsement deals with Brown after Taylor filed suit.
Taylor's attorney, David Haas, accused Brown of intimidation, saying in a statement that Brown was responsible for the "self-destructive conduct that led to the demise of his NFL career."
"In the past, Defendant Brown has used intimidation to avoid responsibility for his actions," Haas said. "However, Ms. Taylor will not be bullied and remains steadfast in holding Defendant Brown accountable."
Brown's attorney, Camille Blanton, said in a statement that Brown was "committed to his continued aggressive response to Taylor's false allegations."
"Not only does Mr. Brown seek to clear his name, but he also desires to make a statement that there is not an open season to extort professional athletes," Blanton said.