AP Published 12:12 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2020 | Updated 1:06 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2020
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — NFL free agent Antonio Brown turned himself in at a Florida jail on Thursday night following accusations that he and his trainer attacked another man.
Brown arrived at Broward County Jail around 10 p.m., as first reported by TMZ. The wide receiver, wearing turquoise pants and a matching blazer buttoned over a green jacket, initially walked out of the jail a few minutes after arriving, but then returned after conferring with his lawyer, WFOR-TV reported.
In a Wednesday news release, Hollywood police said Brown's arrest warrant included charges of burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief. Officials responded Tuesday afternoon to a disturbance call where the alleged victim said Brown and his trainer, Glenn Holt, hit him near Brown's Hollywood home.
Holt was arrested and charged with one count of burglary with battery, but officials couldn't make contact with Brown at the time.
Brown didn't respond to WFOR-TV's request for on-camera comment, but his lawyer, Eric Schwartzreich, indicated that Brown would spend the night in jail.
“He’s innocent of these charges. Hopefully we’ll get bond tomorrow and he’ll be acquitted of all charges,” Schwartzreich said.
Brown, who is a free agent, played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders last year but released before ever playing a regular season game following several off-the-field incidents. He was then signed by the New England Patriots, who released Brown in September after a second woman in 10 days accused him of sexual misconduct.
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Almost four years ago, Peyton Manning called it a career after 18 seasons in the NFL.
Now, it’s his brother Eli’s turn.
The New York Giants quarterback will announce his retirement at a press conference Friday, ending his 16-season career in the NFL. He’s got two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVPs (all of which came against the New England Patriots) under his belt and wraps things up with a 117-117-0 record in the regular season.
Peyton is proud of the career his brother led.
“I’m happy for Eli, because I know he’s at peace and he put a lot of time and thought into this decision,” Manning told DenverBroncos.com’s Aric DiLalla. “But I am sad, because I won’t get to see him play anymore. And after my dad and Dan Marino, Eli really was my favorite player. So I have to find a new one. But for really 19 years going back to his three years at Ole Miss, 16 years in the NFL, I have enjoyed watching him play, watching him compete, watching him grow into a man. It’s been a heck of a run.”
Peyton always has enjoyed watching his sibling play, especially since retiring in 2016. He’ll miss that now that Eli is hanging up his helmet.
“I really have enjoyed watching him play in person a lot more,” Manning said. “I’ve been averaging about three games a season during the years that I was retired. I certainly got to keep up with his games more. And once again, I wasn’t talking to him every day during the week, but could ask him about the game plan and what the Dolphins are doing on defense. But to go see him play and take my kids down to the locker room and have the chance for them to see their uncle, that was a real thrill. So I’ll miss that. I’ve been doing it for a long time.
“In college, I’d go back and see Eli play one game a year in high school. When I was in the NFL, I’d go see him play one game a year in college. And just to see this growth and development each year — he was just a year older, a year stronger, a year more mature — so I’ve been seeing him play a long time. I will definitely miss that, but I’ll have great memories of the journey.”
And just like that, it’s the end of an era in the NFL.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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For the first time in Super Bowl history, the officiating crew for Super Bowl LIV will comprise of a majority of minorities.
With so much criticism, well-deserved, for the dearth of qualified minority candidates landing head coaching opportunities in the NFL, there’s a contrasting symbolism with five African-Americans named — on merit — as part of the seven-member crew headed by referee Bill Vinovich for the much-coveted assignments of working a Super Bowl.
In fact, Super Bowl LIV will mark the first time in NFL history — in Year 100 — that five African-American officials will ever work any game.
“Anytime we reach a historical high, it’s significant in terms of diversity and inclusion,” Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, told USA TODAY Sports. “People don’t always notice the officials, even though they are in very visible positions. But this is noticeable and almost the opposite effect to the coaching situation.”
Lapchick, also Chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management program at the University of Central Florida, has tracked diversity patterns for coaches, executives, front office staff and other positions in professional sports and the college ranks for decades. In his most recent NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, released in October, Lapchick noted that the NFL reached an all-time high in 2019 with 39 of the 123 on-field officials (32%) representing diversity.
The tally, based on data supplied by the league, included 36 African-Americans, two American Indian or Alaska Natives and one Hispanic. The league also has a female official. Now, as first reported by FootballZebras.com, a historical Super Bowl crew.
“Hopefully, there might be a relationship,” Lapchick added, considering the most diverse pool of officials the league has ever had.
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Barry Anderson, shown here working the Colts-Steelers game in Week 9, will serve as umpire in Super Bowl LIV. (Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sport)
The African-Americans on the Super Bowl LIV crew: Barry Anderson, umpire; Carl Johnson, line judge; Michael Banks, field judge; Greg Steed, back judge; and Boris Cheek, side judge. Rounding out Vinovich’s team is down judge Kent Payne.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president for football operations, told USA TODAY Sports that the assignments are based on the league’s system for grading officials for each game as opposed to any social agenda. Even better, when social statements occur organically.
“It certainly demonstrates that minorities are just as capable as anyone of doing their jobs in an exemplary fashion,” Rod Graves, the new executive director of The Fritz Pollard Alliance (FPA), told USA TODAY Sports.
Graves didn’t say it specifically, but his words undoubtedly apply also to his mission with the FPA, which monitors and promotes opportunities for minorities as head coaches — amid disturbing patterns.
It’s a shame that in 2020 there is a sense that some people (like certain NFL owners) should be reminded that quality can come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Yet recent history, like other history, suggests a need.
During each of the past three hiring cycles, just three minorities were hired for 20 head coaching vacancies — one in each year — which is clearly a bad look for the NFL. This fuels criticism (or at least raises questions) of discrimination and bias preventing advancement for minority coaches and executives.
There are four head coaches of color and just one general manager for the 32 NFL teams.
Graves, who previously worked for five years as a senior administrator at NFL headquarters and before that was GM of the Arizona Cardinals, contends that the pattern in the officiating ranks is an indication that the league is providing the proper example for inclusion — although many teams are not inclined to be so progressive. He lauded Vincent and Al Riveron, director of officiating, for “making that a priority.”
“I credit Roger Goodell,” Graves added of the NFL commissioner, “for keeping diversity on the forefront for NFL owners.”
Intended or not, the officiating crew for Super Bowl LIV takes center stage, too, on the diversity front.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.
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