Pat’s update: Oh brother...
#Raiders coach Jon Gruden now confirms: WR Antonio Brown won’t be suspended and will play Monday night. Quite a 24 hours.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 6, 2019
Antonio Brown Watch is immortal. I don’t think it’s ever going to end. Not when he once had his named linked to the 49ers in that epic tweet from George Kittle. But now it’s a relief he’s not in San Francisco, because he’s only been with the Oakland Raiders for three months and wants to punch General Manager Mike Mayock in the face. Yes, you read that right, he threatened to punch his general manager.
Seriously, this guy is a step away from doing sit-ups in his driveway.
What started all of this? A spat over fines.
Antonio Brown had several unexcused absences during training camp. Whether these are from that incident involving his helmet or not it isn’t clear. Either way, the Raiders fined Brown. Oh, and I didn’t get this story from a news site. No, I got this straight from the horse’s mouth. I got it from Brown himself:
Antonio Brown posts his displeasure with fines from #Raiders pic.twitter.com/0OMhdwFu7K— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 4, 2019
As you might have guessed, this opened up the floodgates. The Raiders were none too happy having this stuff aired on social media. Brown met up with the Raiders on Thursday and vented his frustration to Mayock...in front of the whole team.
There’s a lot of things going around Twitter, but Ian Rapoport broke things down as clearly as possible. These are the main points from Rapoport’s report:
- Brown was mad about the fine(s)
- There was a shouting match. Rapoport says “not as much” [shouting] from Mayock, but “more of a one-sided” shouting match from Brown.
- Brown told Mayock “I’ll hit you in the face.”
- Brown then took a football, punted it, and said, “Fine me for that.”
Like I said, sit-ups. Mr. Big Chest is a bigger distraction than Hard Knocks ever could have been.
The Raiders are expected to suspend Brown for this. This includes plans to be without Brown for their Week 1 game on Monday night. Adam Schefter pointed out the suspension could void the $30.125 million of guaranteed money—which means they would go their separate ways. Say what you want about the ESPN Show First Take, but Damien Woody makes a point that the Raiders threw the term “Conduct Detrimental to the Club” in that letter, which means if Brown keeps trying the Raiders’ patience they can go back and get his money.
The most we know is from a short statement Mayock gave saying Brown wouldn’t be practicing and wasn’t at the building.
Something unrelated, but worth noting is that whole Brown helmet issue. Once Brown finally settled on a decent helmet, we all thought the issue was over with. Well, it had to have an exclamation point, because in my inbox, I received a press release from Xenith, the helmet Brown decided on, containing key quotes from Brown himself on how Xenith fit his needs. In short, Brown turned the whole circus over a helmet into an endorsement deal.
Seriously, I’ve seen some very strange endorsements hit my inbox, but I never expected a press release from a helmet company filled with Antonio Brown content. Especially after that circus.
I asked this before wondering if anyone was still wanting him on the San Francisco 49ers but now, someone has to give credit to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan for staying far, FAR away from this. They have built a superb locker room culture, one of building men up and encouragement. If Antonio Brown was here, can you fathom what this would look like?
I don’t know how Antonio Brown’s fate will end, but this is some of the craziest stuff since Terrell Owens. When Brown wanted us to call him Mr. Big Chest, I thought that was the pinnacle, but he continue to produce what will be a good 30-for-30 one day.
To be honest, the worst decision in all of this belongs to HBO. They clearly needed to extend Hard Knocks by a week.