Antonio Brown threatens NFL with liability if he’s injured in a new helmet

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One of the first lessons in law school goes like this: When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. When the law is on your side, pound on the law. When neither is on your side, pound on the table.

Antonio Brown‘s legal team is pounding on the table.

After nearly a week of silence from Brown’s side regarding bizarre circumstances that have kept him from practicing, someone (presumably, someone from his legal team) is talking a blue streak. An unnamed source has leaked an intriguing nugget regarding an argument made during Friday’s grievance hearing regarding Brown’s refusal to swap his outdated helmet for a new model.

Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com reports that Brown’s case included a warning that “if [Brown] suffered a head injury in a helmet that he is compelled to wear, he would hold the league liable.”

The source also provided this quote to Kaplan: “I think it’ll be interesting if the NFL forces Antonio to wear a different helmet. And he does play and he doesn’t retire as some people have reported he will do. And then he suffers a really severe injury. I’d hate to be the NFL. Because now you’ve forced him into wearing a different type of helmet. And I think at that point, though, the liability will be dramatic.”

It won’t be. There will be no liability. The NFL and the NFL Players Association have worked closely together to devise safety rules aimed at approving certain helmets and disqualifying certain others. The entire goal is to ensure that players have the safest possible equipment while playing.

Moreover, there can be no liability without compelling proof of causation. How would Brown show that an injury for which he attempts to hold the league liable wouldn’t have happened in his old helmet? Brown would be required, through his own testimony (which would be subject to rigorous cross examination) and the testimony of qualified experts, to show that the only reason the injury happened was because he was required to wear one of the helmets approved by the NFL and the NFLPA and was prevented from wearing his outdated helmet of choice.

Also, Brown likely would have no ability to sue the NFL in court. Any relief against the league would be restricted to the procedures contained in the CBA. While he could sue the NFLPA for breach of its duty of fair representation, that’s a very high legal bar for any union member to clear.

Ultimately, no one is forcing Brown to play football. If he wants to retire, he can retire. If he wants to play in the NFL, he has to use one of the approved helmets. If he wants to play football in his old helmet, he can go to the XFL.

The bluster leaked by his legal team changes none of that. And it likely won’t do much, if anything, to win the day in the court of public opinion, because no one will be shedding tears for a guy who simply wants to keep having it his way, in any and all circumstances.

101 responses to “Antonio Brown threatens NFL with liability if he’s injured in a new helmet

  1. Make him sign a waiver that if he suffers from CTE later in life he can’t sue the league. Basically wear at your own risk.

  2. AB also wants to use his ten year old pacifier, also banned by the NFL under the new “Binky Rule”.

  3. Didn’t he suffer a concussion wearing his previous helmet on the Burfict hit? How could you make an argument a new helmet was the reason for injury if your previous gear has already proven not to protect you 100% from head injury.

  4. You say there’s no liability, but anyone can be sued for anything, and all it takes is a couple jurors to side with Brown’s reasoning for damages to be awarded

  5. I thought he said he won’t play football if he has to wear a new helmet. New he says he will sue if he is injured in a new helmet. Seems that he has cold feet again if he has to walk away from the tens of millions of dollars he gets playing the game.

  6. 10feethigher says:
    August 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm
    You say there’s no liability, but anyone can be sued for anything, and all it takes is a couple jurors to side with Brown’s reasoning for damages to be awarded
    ———-
    Not if you’re going against the NFL for a policy they already have in place with the NFLPA, there’s no grounds for him to sue. He’d have a case if it was the other way around, but these new helmets are literally approved and signed off for safety specifically so there’s no fault with the NFL at all.

  7. The court finds the cause of the head injury to be playing professional football, not the new helmet. Thank you for your time.

  8. How would Brown show that an injury for which he attempts to hold the league liable wouldn’t have happened in his old helmet? Brown would be required, through his own testimony (which would be subject to rigorous cross examination) and the testimony of qualified experts

    ————————

    Because there is a visual issue with the new helmets due to the extra bar added to them. James Jones (NFL Network) and other former players have already attested to this. There are your experts right there to support AB. Provided AB gets into a head injury collision where the helmet/bar obstructed his view of course.

  9. AB is out for 2-3 weeks due to his frostbitten feet..He’s a diva that needs constant attention, plus Hard Knocks. He’s not going to pass up these tens of millions of dollars, trust me.

  10. Just tell him to get on the field or get off. He has a contract that can be voided after giving him 5 days to communicate with the team. The Raiders would be out a million and a 3rd rounder. They can survive that.

  11. “This guy is the most selfish player in the NFL.”

    Le’veon Bell waves hi. Not much difference between the two

  12. Im pretty sure that if he ever filed such a suit the NFL could easily show the head injury was a preexisting condition to the helmet change.

  13. Get this guy outta here!!!!!! Who would want this guy as a teammate?????? Jon Gruden must be nuts for wanting to coach this head case!!!!!!

  14. The thing I don’t understand about Jon Gruden is he went through having a diva on his team with Keyshawn Johnson, and that ended poorly. So what made him think that he could deal with Antonio Brown, who makes Johnson seem like a choir boy?

  15. This is just way too bizarre.
    It doesn’t even make sense for a movie script.

    Come on, AB, enuf already.

  16. There must be a smug sense of satisfaction and relief going on in Pittsburgh, watching this addition by subtraction. They got a 3rd and a 5th in exchange for an over priced Drama Queen. I believe they turned that into WR Diontae Johnson and TE Zack Gentry. If they produce anything it would be a bonus.

  17. 10feethigher says:
    August 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm
    You say there’s no liability, but anyone can be sued for anything, and all it takes is a couple jurors to side with Brown’s reasoning for damages to be awarded
    —————-
    Missing the point. It doesn’t go to a jury because a judge tosses it.

  18. The people saying he can or can’t sue know nothing of the law…period..anyone can sue anyone or any entity…and a judge can rule it has merit or lacks merit…but he can sue if he gets hurt…helmet could be defective…doesn’t fit..something

  19. The NFL should call his bluff. Enough of this me first bs Brown.
    He said he wouldn’t play in a new helmet so dont give him preferential treatment, treatment the NFL didn’t give bigger stars than him.

    Good riddance, the NFL doesn’t need AB

  20. Wow, Brown’s attorneys must be telling him what he wants to hear; and are mostly certainly charging him for their moral support. Brown is not smart enough to recognize that this is going nowhere. The NFL’s reason for restrictions on helmets is all about player safety, which they have a vested financial interest in. As long as the NFL is upgrading equipment based upon technology as it continues to improve; they have no worries. Brown, it seems, is becoming unhinged. One has to wonder whether the Raiders will at some point, figure that this just isn’t worth it; and will cut bait. I doubt any other team would have any interest after what we have all seen.

  21. how come it was safe for him to wear it for the past 10 years or so, and now it isn’t safe. I find that a bit peculiar .

  22. When AB is finally out of the NFL, like TO, he’ll probably go flat broke in short order. My wish is that AB, TO, and Ochocinco all have to live together splitting the rent in subsidized low income inner city project housing.

  23. Dude just wants to wear helmet of his choice….have him sign a waiver and move on. Dumb yes…but seems like this issue could be easily solved. hell half the world wants to see him get hurt, this way if it happens no one but him will be responsible for consequences.

  24. You could have him sign a waiver but if the league has already determined the helmet he uses is less safe then the nfl is probably still liable if he’s hurt for letting him use it

  25. This problem goes away in an instant if he were being paid like Thomas and Julio.

    Tomlin got incredible on field performance out of this guy. Hall of Fame Coaching it seems to me. Gruden will be calling for tips.

  26. Sorry AB…doesn’t work that way. You play with what’s approved or you assume risk by playing with that which is not approved.

    Your union rep should have told you it’s for your own benefit to play with those approved helmets.

  27. The Grudens should do a swap … Brown straight up for Trent Williams , hellwashington could throw in Doctson … that should be enough punishment for all of them .

  28. Brown could actually help the NFL do research on this. Now that he practices with Burfict daily, he can try wearing each helmet and have Burfict deliver cheapshots to the head to see which helmet works best. Bonus because it gives Burfict more practice delivering cheapshots. Everyone wins.

  29. The equipment specifications (choices) are part of the bargaining agreement that was signed and ratified by both the NFL Owners and the Players Association. Players are bound by the agreement that their association signed, so Brown has no leg to stand on. He can file a grievance as he has done, and it will almost certainly be rejected; and that’s it. Brown can sue, and his attorneys would love to run up Brown’s legal bills; but in the end, it will all be for naught. I speculate that Browns attorneys are taking advantage of his ignorance, and they will probably do just about anything he wants, as long as they can charge him for it.

  30. If AB was arguing to use a SAFER HELMET that now exists, but has not been approved by the NFL for reasons of money I would understand his stance and support it.

    But to argue to use 10-year-old technology that probably contributed to his current bizarre behavior is just insane. Time for a psychological evaluation (not joking).

  31. Really glad that he is gone from Pittsburgh. Words cannot adequately convey….

    Hopefully, we can be done talking about this “fool” soon. There are much more interesting (football related) things to talk about as we approach “opening day.”

  32. I used to think T.O. was the biggest “ME” flake..

    Brown definitely is giving him a run for his money

  33. Here’s an idea…why don’t all of us fans file a class action lawsuit against Antonio Brown for ruining our enjoyment of the NFL with his childish antics?

  34. It’s a moronic argument. The league has equipment rules you have to follow and they are in the best interest of the players. There can be no liability if the new equipment is inherently safer than the old. The car industry deals with this nonsense all the time. Unless it can be proven the safety equipment is faulty and the fault caused the injury there can’t be liability.

  35. how come it was safe for him to wear it for the past 10 years or so, and now it isn’t safe. I find that a bit peculiar .

    —–

    NFL and NFLPA started testing current helmets in 2018. Certain helmets were banned due to not meeting minimum guidelines, such as the ones Brady and Rodgers wore. The “bad” helmets were grandfathered for 2018 if the player wore it in 2017.

    In order to be on NFL approved list, a helmet must be also certified by NOCSAE. NOCSAE will not certify helmets that are more then ten years old, which Brown’s now is, and Schutt no longer makes that model; they’ve upgraded to more effective padding. He has known since last year that this would happen, or should have.

    Most NFL players are using safer helmets voluntarily. Whereas, Brown’s helmet gets only 2 of 5 stars from NOCSAE.

  36. AB is already acting as though he has brain damage–he’s been reduced to the mentality of a 2-year-old screaming about the toy it wants in the toy store.

  37. The League should show him they have had enough of his childish behavior and remind him he is an employee of the NFL and MUST follow NFL safety rules or be put on suspension until he does.the new helmets are designed to be safer for players and it interferes with his line of vision then adapt and adjust or quit.enough of this clown,make him decide if he is rich enough and wants to retire,the team can get by just fine without him.

  38. The Raiders should sue AB for damages due to breach of contract, unless the NFLPA is really stupid and that could be but there should be a line in all contracts about wearing the proper approved equipment. This would have been perfect for Al, but I think Marc doesn’t quite of the proper appendages to do it. Sue AB for $50 million in damages.

  39. Tom Brady has the same problem with the new helmet. He doesn’t like it and is trying to find the model he can tolerate the best. The one he used in 4 Superbowls has been outlawed.

  40. I would love it if the NFL called his bluff and told him, that due to his announced threat, he is henceforth prevented from playing in the NFL for his own safety and in the interests of the Shield. All contracts are considered null and void and he has to repay the signing bonus to the Raiders. It’ll never happen, but would be funny and justice served to a diva.

  41. there’s no legal issue here whatsoever. ever player contract has the player sign various waivers – agreed to by the NFL and the union – Brown has 0.00% leverage.

    just appears that Brown wants out…

    biggest losers here…the Raiders, lost a 3rd and a 5th and will have to sue Brown to get the signing bonus back.

  42. radrntn says:
    August 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm
    how come it was safe for him to wear it for the past 10 years or so, and now it isn’t safe. I find that a bit peculiar .

    ————

    Gee i don’t know…..if was “safe” for players to wear leather helmets with no face-asks for a long time too….. Do you find it “peculiar” that those are no longer allowed either?

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