There’s an ancient Chinese curse that simply says, “May you live in interesting times.” And that’s where we find ourselves right now with Oakland’s mercurial star receiver Antonio Brown, who apparently has a serious problem with the helmets mandated by the NFL.
Raiders’ WR Antonio Brown had a two-hour hearing today with league officials regarding whether he will be allowed to wear his old helmet; his NFL future could be riding on it.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2019
Updated story: https://t.co/kuyGi4xMPi
So perhaps all along, the issue was less Antonio Brown’s feet and more that he didn’t like his helmet. I guess that’s good news in a way, because it’s better than having a serious injury. But if Brown wants to take his ball and go home over this, that’s really bad news for the Raiders.
It’s not like Brown is alone in disliking the new helmets, as Tom Brady has also expressed his displeasure with them. Brown’s complaint seems to be that the helmet shape obstructs his vision, and being able to see the ball seems a pretty important part of being a receiver. But this sort of stubbornness isn’t going to lead anywhere good and it’s a bad look.
I don’t really think Antonio Brown is going to leave the game if this situation doesn’t go his way. He loves football far too much for that. However, this is clearly an issue and a distraction for the team, as there are reports going around Twitter that Brown kept trying to use his old helmet even after being told it was not permitted, going so far as to paint his old helmet to look like a new one. I cannot vouch for the factual basis or veracity of that, but either way, Brown is taking this issue seriously. This has gone beyond the Raiders now, and is an issue with the NFL itself. Hopefully it will be resolved in short order to everyone’s satisfaction.