As the NFL looks into Patriots receiver Antonio Brown over sexual assault allegations, Nike has cut ties with the star player. CBS Boston confirmed Thursday that Brown is no longer associated with the footwear giant — first reported by The Boston Globe.
“Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete,” a Nike spokesperson told CBS Boston.
Nike wouldn’t dive into details as to why they are no longer in business with the star receiver, or which side called off its agreement. But the timing suggests that the world’s biggest sneaker company no longer wants to associate with Brown, who wasby a former trainer in a civil suit filed last week.
The NFL is looking into the matter, reportedly interviewing Brown’s accuser for 10 hours Monday. It’s possible that Brown could end up on the commissioner’s exempt list at some point in the future, which would make him ineligible to play for the Patriots.
There are no Antonio Brown sneakers available on Nike’s website, including his signature shoe, the “Nike Tech Trainer Antonio Brown.” The site still offers a handful of Antonio Brown jerseys, but only ones from his time in Pittsburgh and Oakland.
Brown debuted for the Patriots last weekend against the Dolphins, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. The league’s investigation into Brown’s civil lawsuit will reportedly take weeks. The receiver is expected to make his Gillette Stadium debut Sunday when the Patriots host the New York Jets.
In his first interview since joining the Patriots, Brown on Thursday declined to answer questions about the sexual assault and rap allegations and said he’s keeping his focus on football.
Asked if he was currently in good standing with the league and available to play on Sunday when New England hosts the New York Jets, Brown responded that he was “super grateful to be here to play for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.”
“I got a lot of the offense to learn and catch up on,” he continued. “But I’m excited and grateful to be here and be a part of these guys.”
After responding that it was “a tremendous honor” to a question about working with Brady, Brown was asked what the process of acclimating to the Patriots has been like with everything going on in his life. Again, Brown deferred to football.
“It’s football,” he said. I’m grateful to play football. Every time you walk in the doors here you know (to) be your best for the team. So every time I walk in here, I just want to make sure I’m preparing to give these guys my best.”
Asked a final time if he’s heard anything from the NFL about his availability, Brown said, “I appreciate that question. I’m just here to focus on ball and look forward to get getting out there and playing and being with the team.”