The NFL is monitoring a pair of lawsuits against Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown stemming from an incident in April in which he's accused of nearly hitting a toddler and his grandfather with objects allegedly thrown from a 14th-floor balcony in suburban Miami.
“We are aware of and will continue to monitor the civil suits” against Brown, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.
Brown has until Thursday to answer a lawsuit filed in South Florida that alleges he "traumatized" the child, according to court records (via the Post-Gazette).
Brown released a statement saying the claims were false and that his focus will continue to be on football.
“It has now been made public that two lawsuits containing false claims have been filed against me,” Brown said in a statement provided to ProFootballTalk and other media outlets. “The facts will soon come out that prove my innocence.
"My focus will remain on football and I will not let the cases serve as a distraction.”
The NFL's personal conduct policy prohibits “conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible, puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL.”
The Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin declined earlier this week to comment on the lawsuit, filed in August by the 22-month-old boy’s father, Ophir Sternberg, and stemming from a three-day window in which police reportedly were called three times to the upscale apartment complex.
In five games this season, Brown has 35 catches for 373 yards and five touchdowns for the 2-2-1 Steelers, who face the Bengals at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in Cincinnati.
According to a police report filed April 23 (via TMZ Sports), Brown said he had returned home to the Mansions at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach, north of Miami, from an 11-day trip to find, he said, that $80,000 in cash and a handgun had been stolen from his apartment.
Police were called on April 24, following the balcony incident. The suit claims, in part, that on that day the boy and his grandfather were near the swimming pool at the complex when “large objects started to fall from the building many floors above them and crashed to the ground.”
On April 25, police were called again when Brown reported that his black Rolls-Royce had been stolen. However, according to TMZ Sports, when police arrived at the apartment that day, Brown said, "I found the car" and closed the door on the officers.
Sternberg's suit alleges that security personnel determined that Brown, in a fit of rage, threw two large vases, estimated to be more than 3 feet tall, a large ottoman and other pieces of furniture off the balcony over the course of several minutes, some of the items landing poolside within a foot or two of the man and his grandson.
Claiming in the lawsuit that his child was “severely traumatized by the incident, crying for hours on end the day it occurred and was unable to sleep that night,” Sternberg is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.
According to the Post-Gazette, which cited court records, Brown also is facing a second lawsuit filed by his landlord in connection with the incident also seeking more than $15,000 in damages because of the damaged furniture and other items from the apartment.
According to a signed lease included in court documents, Brown rented the furnished apartment for six months, between February and July. In addition to a $35,000 security deposit, Brown paid $105,000 for three months' rent in advance.