September 17, 2019

Whenever I hear another story like this, I think of a conversation I had with an FBI agent a long time ago. He referred to a former NFL athlete he interviewed as "a nice guy, but a sociopath" and I said he couldn't be serious. He said no, you're talking about people who have been singled out as special at the age of 13 or so, and from that point on, all the people around him are invested in protecting him from anything keeps him from going all the way.

"So these are guys who have never known consequences," he said. "You're surprised that some of them are sociopaths, when you should be surprised that more of them aren't."

On CNN's New Day:

"A source tells us that the woman accusing Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown of sexual assault and rape, Britney Taylor, met with the NFL for ten hours until late last night, ten hours. This comes as a new claim of sexual misconduct has surfaced from an unnamed woman in a Sports Illustrated report. Now Brown denies both sets of allegations," John Berman said.

He asked CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan what message it sends that Brown is still an active player for the Patriots.

"It's not a good one, if in fact that she -- if Britney Taylor said what we believe she said for ten hours, that's a long time, then it becomes a he said/she said, which is what we thought all along," Brennan said.

"And so far anyway, it sounds like they're not acting on what she said. Now, I will say the positive here for women, for #metoo, for the culture in general, believing women is that six years ago this would never have happened. The Ray Rice punch, which was five years and one week ago, the video that we saw that horrified so many people, did lead the NFL to know that it needed to investigate itself, and so we saw that today. That's the positive. The uncertainty yet is what will happen. Obviously, it's only Tuesday morning. They play Sunday. There's a long time yet to go to see if, in fact, Antonio Brown is put on the commissioner's exempt list, which is, I believe, exactly where he belongs. Right now, as you said, he's not there."

Berman then read from sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy's column.

"The Patriots know what to do when they're charged with cheating or ethical bankruptcy, just win, baby. Take no prisoners. Fire all your guns at once, deny, deny, then accuse. Give everybody the finger and march towards another Super Bowl Sunday. Unleash members of your fan boy nation as born again civil libertarians, righteous in their pursuit of touchdowns or everything else."

"So what message does it send to you in Boston when the Patriots are just saying hey, it's not for us to decide. Couldn't they step in here and take action on their own?" he said.

"No, they're running out the clock here. They will do nothing until they are told they have to do something by the NFL, which we know they already hate. They hate the league telling them what to do. In this case the league is doing them a favor. The Patriots have done nothing. Coach Belichick when they acquired the player, when asked if he knew about the lawsuit that was coming, he said he would not answer that. Then he said we need to gather more information. You don't need to gather more information to tell us if you knew or not. That's not a 'gathering information' item. It's yes or no. He won't answer that, and nothing else to say about Antonio Brown regarding his off the field stuff."

Shaughnessy pointed out owners Bob and Jonathan Kraft always talk about their families and how it makes them different.

"Bob Kraft, after his latest charges in Florida last January: 'I treat women well. I let my actions speak for themselves.' Now he's standing there and saying and doing nothing but having his media cartel put the word out that had Bob known about these charges, they wouldn't have taken on the player. What's stopping you now?" he said.

"He said to Patriots fans, 'If you're on their team, they love you, and that's that. The same guy they were trashing ten days ago, they now love.' And hey, he played great. We know he's a good football player. That was never in doubt. Now he's their good football player and they're taking on the college town atmosphere, twisting themselves into pretzels... like I said, they're all now civil libertarians."

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