We’re just 10 days into training camp, and things between Antonio Brown and the Raiders have already reached levels of insanity. While dealing with a bizarre case of frostbite on his feet that has kept him off the practice field, Brown is now saying he will not play football again unless he’s allowed to wear his old helmet, one that is no longer certified by National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
And now this: Raiders’ WR Antonio Brown has told team officials that, unless he gets to wear his old helmet, he will not play football again, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2019
The NFL has a policy of not allowing players to wear helmets that are not certified by NOCSAE, according to ESPN. NOCSAE’s rule has been that no helmets older than 10 years can be worn. Interestingly, if Brown were to wear his old helmet, which is now 10 years old, he would not face retribution from the league, but the Raiders would, putting the onus on the team to bar Brown from wearing it.
NFL policy, announced in April, punishes TEAMS if any player wears a prohibited helmet. So the onus is on the Raiders to enforce this against Brown, who wouldn’t face league discipline himself if and when he breaks the rule. https://t.co/wzJwouQkc9
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) August 9, 2019
Brown has filed a grievance with the league and had a two-hour call with officials on Friday, according to Schefter. A decision could come as early as next week.
This all comes on the heels of multiple reports that Brown has gone AWOL while getting treatment on his frostbitten feet. According to a truly insane twitter thread by reporter Mike Silver, the helmet issue has created a disconnect between Brown and the team. Brown has reportedly on three occasions attempted to wear the helmet at practice after being told by the team he’s not allowed to. This included one incident during OTAs where he reacted by storming out of the facility, and another where he had his old helmet painted silver and black in an attempt to fool Raiders officials.
One player told Silver it’s “honestly the most insane thing I have ever heard. I don’t know why it’s so important to him. It doesn’t make any sense.” Brown has also reportedly been consistently late to meetings at the Raiders facility, and when he does attend has appeared distracted.
19) Brown, according to witnesses, typically glances at the screens of several tablets and his smart phone during meetings, distracting himself by engaging in activities which include perusing his bank accounts and “liking” photos on Instagram…
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 9, 2019
Brown, 31, is considered arguably the best receiver in football, and has caught over 100 balls for over 1,000 yards in each of the last six seasons.