Report: Antonio Brown threatening to sit unless he can wear outdated helmet deemed unsafe

The Antonio Brown saga in Oakland continues to get stranger.

As the football world digests reports that the wide receiver willingly exposed himself to frostbite by entering a cryotherapy chamber without proper foot protection, he’s now reportedly waging a battle with the Raiders to wear a helmet that has been deemed unsafe by the NFL.

Brown threatens to sit over helmet

And according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he won’t play unless he gets his way.

Schefter reported earlier Friday that Brown had filed a grievance with the NFL to wear the same model helmet he wore with the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to the report, the helmet features an outdated design and is not certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment, a certification that the league requires.

Antonio Brown is reportedly entrenched in a fight with the Raiders to wear an unsafe helmet. (Reuters)
Antonio Brown is reportedly entrenched in a fight with the Raiders to wear an unsafe helmet. (Reuters)

The helmet hearing

A grievance hearing over the helmet originally slated for next week was moved up to Friday, when Brown spent two hours pleading his case, according to the report. An arbiter will reportedly rule whether Brown will be allowed to wear his preferred helmet that doesn’t meet modern safety specifications to protect his head.

But that’s just the beginning of this chapter.

NFL Network’s Michael Silver has details of Brown’s battle with the Raiders to wear his preferred helmet. He unleashed the tale in a 20-post Twitter thread Friday afternoon. And it’s a doozy.

The dirty details

The short version is that Brown has been battling with the team over wearing the helmet since OTAs, baffling teammates and management alike while taking multiple surreptitious tacks to sneak said unsafe helmet onto the practice field.

And while his frostbitten feet have been getting all the attention, it’s his helmet that’s been the real source of discord with the team.

Here are some of the highlights.

Brown made a spectacle around the team over his displeasure with the helmet mandate:

Brown harped on the issue repeatedly, even as his frostbitten feet became apparent:

“The most insane thing I have ever heard:”

Brown “stormed out” because he wasn’t allowed to wear his preferred helmet:

He painted his old helmet to try and fool people:

He tried to sneak his old helmet on the field again:

He went AWOL:

Vision issue?

Schefter later reported that Brown is unsatisfied with newer-model helmets because he believes a protrusion impedes his vision and his ability to catch the football.

He also reported that Brown’s absence from camp was primarily over the helmet conflict, not his frostbitten feet.

The Raiders declined to comment on the helmet situation with Schefter.

The Raiders are “aware and supportive of Antonio Brown but no further comment.”

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