Public Supports Antonio Brown Suspension, but Not as a Standard Procedure for NFL

South Orange, NJ, October 8, 2019 — By more than a 2-1 margin, the American public believes suspension of players being investigated for sexual misconduct by the NFL should be conducted on a case-by-case basis, without making the suspension standard procedure.

But the case of Antonio Brown, who was signed and then released after one game by the New England Patriots, appears to be one of the “case-by-case” cases in which the public supported his suspension during the investigation.

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted last week among 714 adult Americans across the country, either on landline or cellphone.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.

Fifty-one percent of the public believed Brown should have been suspended during the investigation with only 32 percent saying he should have been allowed to play.  Seventeen percent did not know or had no opinion.

But as a general procedure, only 30 percent of the public felt it should be standard procedure to suspend, with 64 percent saying it should be a case-by-case matter.  Six percent did not know or had no opinion.

“Brown did not exactly arrive with a clean slate when the Patriots signed him,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Businessat Seton Hall.  “Having the flexibility to go case-by-case does provide for a more complete review before taking the bold step of suspending an unconvicted player.”

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone September 30 – October 2, 2019 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.  The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.Recently chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to Fox News and most points in between.

Media: Media: Marty Appel,;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall, 908-447-3034

The results:

  1. The New England Patriots signed and played wide receiver Antonio Brown while he was under investigation by the NFL for accusations of sexual assault. He was subsequently released when more accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced.  Do you think Brown should have been allowed to play while being investigated or should the Patriots and the NFL have suspended him from playing while the investigation was ongoing?


1 – Allowed to play                                                  32%

2 – Suspended during investigation                     51
3 – Don’t know/No opinion                                    17


  1. Do you think it should be standard procedure in professional sports for players to be suspended from playing during investigation of sexual misconduct or should these situations be looked at on a case-by-case basis?


1 – Standard procedure to suspend                30

2 – Case-by-case basis                                        64
3 – Don’t know/No opinion                                  6


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

During the past five years, the University has invested more than $165 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. The University’s beautiful main campus in suburban South Orange, N.J. is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is located prominently in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

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