Antonio Brown Has Been a Nightmare in Oakland
The NFL season starts tonight, yet the biggest story in the league isn’t about a game. Instead, we’re still caught up in this nonsense with Antonio Brown and the Oakland Raiders.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve heard at least some of these ridiculous stories. But just in case you’ve missed something, I’ll take this all the way back to the beginning to get you caught up.
At the end of last season, it seemed pretty obvious that the Steelers were ready to move on from Brown, especially since Juju Smith-Schuster had emerged as a budding star in the NFL. Brown was held out of Pittsburgh’s Week 17 game last season after an argument with Ben Roethlisberger. With your playoff hopes on the line, usually you want one of the best receivers in the league playing for you, but the Steelers decided that Brown wasn’t worth the antics. Brown showed up expecting to play, but eventually left the stadium at halftime after realizing he wasn’t going to be involved in the game. The Steelers won the game, but still missed out on the playoffs.
Fast forward to March, and it was reported that Brown was being shipped out of Pittsburgh and up to Buffalo. But hold up… you think that a player with Brown’s ego is just going to accept being shipped off to a team with no real shot of competing for the playoffs? Not so fast. Once news leaked that the trade was close to being completed, Brown reportedly shut it down ASAP.
Just a few days later, more trade news. This time Brown was on his way to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for 3rd and 5th round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. On top of that, the Raiders gave Brown a new contract that would pay up around $50 million over three seasons, including $30 million in guaranteed money.
It seemed like everything was solved. Brown was out of Pittsburgh, and the Raiders added one of the most talented receivers in the league, finally giving Derek Carr somebody to throw the ball to.
Then training camp comes around, and Antonio Brown isn’t able to participate. Why? He had frostbite on his feet after not wearing appropriate footwear in a cryotherapy chamber. Definitely seems preventable, but nothing super serious and he should be ready to go when the season starts, right? Well, you’d think. Then we find out that Brown’s feet aren’t the only reason he isn’t playing.
Turns out that the real issue is that Brown is pissed that he can’t wear the helmet he wants after the league announced that older models no longer meet the safety standards required. Seems kinda like a situation where you just have to suck it up and move on. Instead, Brown threatened to retire if he couldn’t wear his old helmet. He filed a grievance against the NFL in hopes of being allowed to wear his helmet, but an arbitrator ruled against Brown, who then seemed to accept that he would need a new helmet and was looking forward to getting back on the field.
Not so fast! Brown wanted to give it one more shot and filed a second grievance against the NFL, which unsurprisingly did not end in his favour. A little bit later on, it seemed like his helmet problems would be solved once and for all.
With the helmet issue solved, it seemed like everything was going to be fine heading into the season. But, in case you haven’t realized already, nothing with this guy is easy.
Yesterday, just a few days before the season starts, Brown posted a picture of a letter from Raiders GM Mike Mayock stating that the team was fining Brown $13,950 for missing practice in addition to a $40,000 fine for missing part of training camp. Brown added a caption which said “When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now.” Now, $50,000 in fines seems like a lot, but keep in mind that huge contract the Raiders gave Brown earlier. Really, the fines are a tiny part of his salary.
Then today, there are reports circulating that Brown and Mayock got into an argument shortly after Brown posted that picture, and now the Raiders are planning to suspend their star receiver. Not only would Brown miss regular season games, but Raiders are trying to void the $30 million of guaranteed money that they gave Brown in his contract. It seems like Brown’s time in Oakland could be over before even stepping onto the field, and honestly, that might not be the worst thing for the team.
In the opening scene of Hard Knocks, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said that “he’s not into dreams, he’s into nightmares.”
Well, Jon, you’re living a nightmare right now.