REPORT: NFL To “Give Serious Consideration” To Putting Antonio Brown on Commissioner’s Exempt List

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On Tuesday, New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown was accused of raping his former trainer in a federal lawsuit by a woman who claimed he did so on three separate occasions.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that the NFL will “give serious consideration” to putting Brown on the Commissioner-Exempt list while that investigation into the claims plays out.

“Placing Brown on the exempt list is “possible” and something that the NFL is “going to have to focus on,” said one of the people close to the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

The league is investigating the allegations but it’s unclear whether a decision about the exempt list will be made this week, before the Patriots are scheduled to play again. Brown has not been charged with a crime, so the NFL does not have to be concerned, at this point, about interfering with a criminal investigation. It is not clear yet if or when the league’s investigators will be able to arrange interviews with Brown’s accuser and other potential witnesses.”

Here’s the description of the list from NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual, via

The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.

To give you an idea of the players who have been on that list, it includes the likes of Michael Vick, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Josh Brown and Reuben Foster. It’s a way for players to still get paid but not take up a roster spot while the league and the Patriots or whatever team it is decide what to do.

Shortly after the news broke on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated the league had no clue about the Brown situation and truly believes he could end up on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.