If/when (when) Antonio Brown loses his grievance, what happens next?

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A decision is expected this week in the grievance filed by Raiders receiver Antonio Brown over the league’s refusal to let him wear a helmet that is too old to be recertified for 2019 — and that Schutt no longer manufactures. If/when (when) Brown loses, what happens next?

In a rational world, Brown would select a new model and show up for practices and games. But there’s little rational about Brown’s behavior in recent months, and it’s hard to imagine him quietly accepting whatever decision is made by a neutral, independent arbitrator.

Brown could go to court, presumably, in a last-ditch, longshot effort to supersede the collectively-bargained procedures for dealing with such disputes. He could make an appeal to the Commissioner. Brown also could offer to sign whatever waiver he’d need to sign to be allowed to wear the outdated helmet.

None of those options are likely to work. Currently, the league’s obsession with player health is less about managing liability than it is about maintaining a future supply of football players. The mere act of devoting millions to identifying the safest possible helmets sends a clear message to parents that the NFL cares about brains. And the insistence on wearing the safest possible helmets helps to minimize, in theory, situations in which significant head trauma may occur.

If a high-profile player like Brown signs a waiver, wears the outdated helmet, and suffers a serious concussion, moms and dads won’t say, “Well, he signed a waiver.” They’ll be more likely to tell their kids, “No football for you.”

That’s why the league can’t, and won’t, bend on this. If Brown is permitted to sign a waiver, other players would have to be permitted to sign waivers, too, both now and in the future, as currently acceptable helmets are made obsolete by better models.

So, at some point, Brown will have to decide whether to play in a new helmet or to not play at all. He has more than 30 million reasons to pick a helmet, any helmet, and to show up for work. Someone needs to get him to understand that before pride, ego, and vanity derail his career.

78 responses to “If/when (when) Antonio Brown loses his grievance, what happens next?

  1. He’ll probably wear the approved helmet, go out can catch 9 balls for 120 yards and a TD and everyone will forget about the preseason distractions.

  2. Not that I really followed him that closely, but I don’t recall him acting nutty early in his career. It seemed like Hines Ward used to get all the attention (for different reasons of course). I Sometimes I wonder if Brown has absorbed one too many hits, especially that Burfict hit a few years ago.

  3. While AB’s line in the sand is stupid, and I don’t even necessarily support an exemption via a signed waiver or some other means, doing so wouldn’t open up Pandora’s box. There’s not going to be a massive line of players insisting on 10 year old helmets just from the simple fact that most players’ careers are shorter than the helmet certification expiration timeline.

    Equipment will get safer irrespective of AB, even if he gets his way with the old helmet. Old players who take advantage of this new theoretical “loophole” will retire and new players will not be looking for old obscure helmets just to be hipsters. The sky will not fall and AB won’t be impacting youth football. Well, hopefully parents will say to their kids, if you make it to the NFL, don’t you dare act like that guy.

  4. The commissioner will not undermine the NFL rules and a court would probably enforce the arbitration decision. I also doubt that a waiver would work as it might not protect the NFL. Some courts will not honor waivers if the defendant was grossly negligent in allowing the activity to continue. Obviously the danger to Brown is known so the only question is if it would be found to be grossly negligent to allow Brown to play with an obsolete helmet in those courts. Every US jurisdiction would need to be examined and predictions made as to the future legal developments in the law of waivers as the suit might be filed anywhere if Brown is injured during a game. Brown’s heirs could try to invalidate the waiver claiming that the risks associated with the waiver were covered up by the NFL embroiling the league in another legal morass. The realistic alternatives are stark if the arbitrator rules for the league – play with another helmet or retire and repay signing bonuses to the Raiders.

  5. Guy’s a complete CLOWN. Oakland should just cut bait here. I mean how long is Gruden gonna put up all this BS? It will never EVER be worth all the horse manure that this diva clown brings. Great stats? Yes, Great talent? Yes, Complete Team Cancer on and off the field? Yes. Kick him to the curb Raiders? YES!!!

  6. I’m starting to think all this drama is ongoing because his foot treatment was not supervised by team doctors; something went wrong and he doesn’t know how to report the fact that he won’t be playing football anytime soon. I think the helmet nonsense is just a distraction, just like the mr. Big chest drama was also to distract from trade negotiations. I also think he has mental issues that won’t go away anytime soon. Good luck, chucky.

  7. This has nothing to do with the helmet.
    He has frostbite on his feet and can’t practice

    “The recovery time for a frostbite injury depends on the extent of tissue injury and whether or not there are any subsequent complications, such as infection. It may take 1 to 3 months before it is possible to determine the extent of tissue damage, and to clearly delineate which tissue is still viable.”

  8. AB lives in an alternate reality. Sad how you can allow the power of your gifts to wreck an entire organization, much less your own life. AB, you had a fresh start.. and you had to mess that up too.

  9. Sounds like the helmet hasn’t worked for him in the past. Who in their right mind would argue against better safety equipment. He needs to grow up and play. I’m curious where the NFLPA stands on this. Seems they are very quiet when they normally love to have the attention of the media.

  10. That’s why the league can’t, and won’t, bend on this.

    ————————

    Why not? They made provisions last year for AB, Brady, Rodgers and other players to wear the same helmets they always have. What has changed from last year to this year? Why the urgency now but not last year?

    Once again in typical fashion the NFL proves itself to be hypocrites when it comes to their “policies”.

  11. I really wonder if AB is actually heeding the advice of his attorney(s) or is just doing this all on his own.

  12. Completely agree that his irrational behavior is at least partly due to receiving too many head shots. It is ironic since he really needs the best available helmet protection. His post-football life will not be pretty. Money cannot buy you health.

  13. If you went to Hollywood with a script about an amazingly talented wide-receiver who was given a second chance by signing a massive contract with a new team, but then wrecked his feet in a cryo chamber and then threatened to quit the NFL if they didn’t let him wear his favorite helmet they’d have laughed you out if their office. Not at all believable, they’d have said.

  14. “Someone needs to get him to understand that before pride, ego, and vanity derail his career.”

    He’s a Raider, his career has already been “derailed”

    Lolz

  15. The media is naive enough to think this is anything more than a stunt to distract from the foot issue? This is all because the cameras are on for Hard Knocks. They need drama, and the first episode gave zero drama. Hell, one of the only players they actually covered was cut mid episode.

    They need something public to try to build interest in the show. That’s all this is.

    He showed up in a hot air balloon, he can’t run without making his feet worse, and he’s now making a big deal over a helmet rule that’s there for player safety. I’m done reading any more articles involving this side show story.

  16. I think the NFLPA needs to step in here to prevent a precedent being set for waivers. If Antonio Brown is successful in getting what he wants by merely signing a waiver to forgo the NFL’s safety protocols, then I could see this eventually working against lower profile players. Specifically, I could see instances in the future where “bottom of the roster” players could be “bullied” by NFL teams into signing waivers to void payouts in the event of certain injury. Based with the desperate situational choice of playing in the NFL or not, there’s probably a number of players who would then be essentially forced into signing. I recognize that this is a form of slippery slope logic, but it’s also not that far of a leap either.

    The NFL has made good progress in terms of improving player safety. A situation like this one threatens to undo a lot of that work if not handled carefully. I can only hope that the people involved are taking a larger view of the potential repercussions of the outcome here (assuredly not Antonio Brown himself).

  17. happy1114 says:
    August 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

    The Steelers are loving every minute of this!!!

    _________________________________________________

    Until their season starts and they stink without him

  18. Next step is he wears the new helmet. Many top players are finicky and superstitious about their uni’s and equipment. They definitely want to keep what has worked for them. However, the safety rules change anyway and players suck it up and wear the new and safer equipment.

    There have been many rule changes that force players to wear safety equipment they didn’t want to wear at the time in the NFL, but when the rules changed, the players had to adapt.

  19. Lets just play, and say he does get injured….Say what you want about a cba, arbitration, etc…..CTE/ Concussions/ etc….and any employer allowing injuries to continue in the workplace with knowledge of it , is negligent. (period) I’m sorry to say it but CTE will be the end of the NFL as we know. This is just a pandora box for the nfl….Trying to say you tried to improve upon the safety, but concussions that lead to CTE are just part of the game is all you need to know. Go ahead AB just wear the helmet, and if you get hurt…go for it.

  20. gotitan says:
    August 12, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Gruden defending him is defenseless.

    ================

    But certainly not unexpected.

  21. Then some new “problem” will arise. Could be the laundry detergent the Raiders use or maybe the brand of athletic tape. And it’s just a matter of time before he turns on his teammates and coaches for not being supportive enough.

  22. Gruden should cut AB and save the $30,000,000 while there’s still an opportunity to contain this dumpster fire that’s going to get a lot hotter before it cools off. With that said, this whole drama is great fun to watch.

  23. It’s not even his helmet 5 years ago he grabbed the wrong one. This was before the concussion rule changes….

  24. Agree about Gruden. Toughen up man, you can’t be everyone’s friend. He should be saying, “AB needs to man up with the mandated helmet and get back to work. This soap opera behavior is not acceptable.” Gotta believe Mayock wouldn’t be having any of this!

  25. “Until their season starts and they stink without him”

    They were pretty good but not great without Brown last season. This offseason the Steelers have kept heir heads down and their mouths closed and just worked away. I expect them to be pretty good this season, far better than the Raiders will be.

  26. sigbouncer says:
    August 12, 2019 at 11:40 am
    That’s why the league can’t, and won’t, bend on this.

    ————————

    Why not? They made provisions last year for AB, Brady, Rodgers and other players to wear the same helmets they always have. What has changed from last year to this year? Why the urgency now but not last year?

    Once again in typical fashion the NFL proves itself to be hypocrites when it comes to their “policies”.

    I don’t know about last year…maybe there was a grace period or something but both Brady and Rodgers are wearing new helmets this year. As a matter of fact, Brady was on WEEI this morning saying he’s been experimenting with a few different ones and doesn’t really love the helmet he’s using now but he’s doing the best he can to work with it.

  27. Maybe Schutt will build him a new helmet using the upgraded padding that they use on the new models, but preserving the line of sight / field of vision that he prefers on his old one.

    Schutt gets good publicity, Brown is happy, the NFL claims a victory for safety, and we play ball.

  28. Why is this even an issue, its simple. He either wears the approved helmet or he doesn’t play, period. If he does comply it will be another issue sooner or later. I used to be an AB fan too. Not anymore. He is just a distraction now I’m over it.

  29. I have to admit never did I think I’d read articles about somebody who got frostbite on their feet or a guy who threatens to retire because he can’t wear an old helmet. Let alone they’d be the same person.

  30. That depends. Do the Raiders volunteer to pay him Julio money, Thomas money? If they do, things settle down for a while. Feet heal. New helmets get broken in.

    If they don’t he will hobble around the field bumping into things with his new sight line challenged hats.

    Pay the man. Again.

  31. zonedout100 says:
    August 12, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t know about last year…maybe there was a grace period or something but both Brady and Rodgers are wearing new helmets this year. As a matter of fact, Brady was on WEEI this morning saying he’s been experimenting with a few different ones and doesn’t really love the helmet he’s using now but he’s doing the best he can to work with it.

    —————————

    The NFL can call last year a grace period or whatever they like.

    But the NFL cannot claim in the name of “player safety” we require AB to wear one of our listed helmets this year. When they didn’t require AB and over 100 other NFL players to wear them last year.

  32. truthprofessor says:
    August 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Maybe Schutt will build him a new helmet using the upgraded padding that they use on the new models, but preserving the line of sight / field of vision that he prefers on his old one.
    ___________________________________

    So apparently you are thinking that Schutt didn’t consider field of vision when designing the helmet to meet current specifications?

  33. Not that I really followed him that closely, but I don’t recall him acting nutty early in his career. It seemed like Hines Ward used to get all the attention (for different reasons of course). I Sometimes I wonder if Brown has absorbed one too many hits, especially that Burfict hit a few years ago.

    —-
    Go back and watch that Burfict hit…that was all acting on ABs part. He barely hit him really. You even saw AB land then flop down.

  34. forthegoodofthegame says:
    August 12, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    What’s next? Maybe the Raiders have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a juice box to lure AB to practice.
    ============================================

    Classic and completely sums up a lot of today’s “Stars” in the NFL.

    Now can we talk about something that is football relevant and not talk about grown, entitled babies in the NFL.

  35. Zero chance the NFL would agree to some type of waiver. In this case, even if a waiver system were in place, when one has to question the mental stability of the party requesting the waiver, they aren’t getting a waiver. In other words, the NFL/NFLPA has to save Brown or any other player, from themselves.

  36. He is just another diva who doesn’t want to practice in camp or play in pre-season. That’s all. In the past, his type usually had an excuse like money or an exaggerated injury but miraculously showed up for Game One when the stats count. Brown has simply found a new angle, equipment rules. He will be on the field when the season opens, probably wearing a new helmet.

  37. factschecker says:
    August 12, 2019 at 11:16 am

    He’ll probably wear the approved helmet, go out can catch 9 balls for 120 yards and a TD and everyone will forget about the preseason distractions

    yeaaahhhh, put me down for the under

  38. It’s a problem now, but it wasn’t before? I’m starting to think he’s just looking for a way to get out of football and get out of his contract.

  39. He clearly has all the money he needs so he does what he wants. He doesn’t need anybody for anything. I’m mostly “OK” with that (remember it’s a free country) as long as it doesn’t interfere with my football but he’s coming real close… He’s becoming a T.O., great player but a PTA.

  40. hes not the highest paid WR now, so its time for another issue. y’all can learn how this works if you do some research, since you didn’t listen to us Steelers fans when it was happening in real time.

  41. Waivers don’t mean jack, anyway. A decent lawyer could find fault with the other player, the groundskeepers, or the goal post if he were to sustain an injury following a waiver.

  42. If they don’t make a 30 for 30 episode out of this with Ozzy’s Crazy Train as the intro music, someone is seriously missing the publicity train!

  43. He is simply being a diva. All the nonsense about his offseason workouts has faded into nothingness. He is all about being the center of attention, all the time, and he will do whatever it takes. Even be a distraction, even at the expense of the team. This is why the Steelers let him leave. He isn’t worth the trouble.

  44. This is the most elaborate scheme I’ve ever seen to skip training camp. Please let this sideshow continue.

  45. I know there’s a lot of hate out there for Brown’s behavior, but I have to say, I love this whacky stuff. I mean, it is just so absurd, how can you not laugh? Highly entertaining.

  46. Where is Drew Rosenhaus ? He was bragging about getting AB the largest WR contract now he is radio silent. Not a word on frost bite and not a word on helmet. Earn your money dude.

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