After news of two impending lawsuits against Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown emerged earlier in the week, both the team and player had been noticeably quiet about the matter.
That silence was broken on Thursday when Brown spoke to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Antonio Brown on recent legal issues: “It has now been made public that two lawsuits containing false claims have been filed against me. The facts will soon come out that prove my innocence. My focus will remain on football and I will not let the cases serve as a distraction.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2018
One of the lawsuits brought against Brown alleges he caused damage to a property he was renting at the Mansions at Acqualina in Sunny Isle Beach, Florida, while the other claims he threw furniture out of the apartment window that fell a significant distance before hitting the ground near a young child.
Mike Tomlin had nothing to say on the matter when pressed by reporters on Tuesday, suggesting he had no knowledge of the issue. However, it would seem that is not the case for the league who are already monitoring the case, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
“We are aware of and will continue to monitor the civil suits,”
Under the terms of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Brown could certainly be eligible for discipline by the league in terms of a fine or even a suspension. Regardless if he is found guilty in these matters by the court, and it is worth noting that these are both civil matters seeking only financial damages rather than punitive actions, the NFL could still choose to suspend him.
Given the league’s history with uneven and often heavy handed discipline at times, even in cases when it was not warranted, Steeler fans should prepare for a possible scenario where Brown is forced to sit out a few games. Whether such a possible suspension could be held up on appeal or not imposed until the 2019 season would be something to worry about later if the worst should happen.