Bill Belichick didn’t quite break Ron Rivera’s record for shortest media conference of the week, but he came close.
Facing numerous questions about Antonio Brown and his status with the New England Patriots, Belichick spoke for a little more than three minutes on Friday before cutting off all Brown-related questions and walking off the podium at the team’s facility.
Here’s the full media conference:
Bill Belichick Live Press Conference 9/20: https://t.co/hXlErSaCa5
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 20, 2019
Brown has not yet been disciplined by the team or the NFL amid allegations that the wide receiver allegedly was involved in inappropriate sexual misconduct — including a civil charge of rape — now with two different women. Late Thursday night, Brown reportedly sent text messages to one of the accusers that included pictures of the woman’s family.
The NFL is reportedly investigating the accusations, reportedly interviewing Brown’s first accuser for more than 10 hours.
Brown signed a one-year contract with the Patriots soon after he was released by the Oakland Raiders. He played well in the Patriots’ Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins. Brown also briefly spoke on Thursday with New England media, taking four questions and not directly addressing the concerning claims against him.
The most telling thing Bill Belichick said Friday
In his opening statement in his brief talk Friday, Belichick acknowledged that the team is “looking into” Brown’s case.
"I know there are questions about Antonio. We take all the situations with our team very seriously," he said. "There are some things we're looking into. I'm not going to comment on any of the off-the-field situations."
This feels like the first sign that the Patriots could take matters into their own hands regarding Brown’s playing status or his place on the team.
However, when asked if Brown will play Sunday in the team’s game against the New York Jets, Belichick said: "He's on our roster."
Rivera, the Carolina Panthers’ head coach, cut off questions about the health of Cam Newton this week in a session with the media that was shorter than Belichick’s. However, Rivera’s annoyance came from a bevy of football-related questions.
Belichick now twice has cut short sessions with the media when asked about Brown’s off-field concerns. It’s now a wonder how much longer either he, the team or the league will continue allowing Brown to play — likely inviting more questions down the road — with these growing concerns lingering.
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