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A-ccountability B-egins for Oakland Raiders and Antonio Brown

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I defended Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver, Antonio Brown, in my article here on FSM last week. I said the Raiders can count on him and that Brown will deliver for Head Coach Jon Gruden, GM Mike Mayock, and his new teammates in Oakland. But after news broke on Thursday that Brown and Mayock got into an argument at practice on Wednesday over Brown posting a picture on social media, and Brown threatened to punch Mayock in the face then promptly punted a ball and challenged Mayock to “Fine him for that”, I’m now not so sure that is the case.

GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 15: Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) gestures to the crowd to get louder before the NFL preseason football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals on August 15, 2019, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brown posted a picture of a letter from Mayock on SnapChat stating that the team is fining Brown $54,000 for missing a practice during camp and a walkthrough in Canada when the Raiders played the Green Bay Packers. Mayock confronted Brown and that’s when Brown went ballistic and started to yell at Mayock. At one point new Raiders’ linebacker, Vontez Burfict, had to restrain Brown from Mayock, who reportedly remained calm during the exchange. So far, Brown has received no payment under his deal with the Raiders, and based on the language of the contract, he may already be in danger of getting nothing at all should they decide to move on from him.

Brown was not at Raiders’ practice on Thursday at the team’s request and they are trying to figure out what to do next with their star receiver. Phot courtesy of @ab on instagram

The Raiders have cause to not only suspended Brown, but also take back over $29 million dollars in guaranteed money he is owed. The team is, in fact, going through all possibilities from suspending Brown for a game, fining Brown, and even releasing Brown outright. While his teammates love Brown, some aren’t happy with the distraction on the eve of the start of the season. The team as a whole, from Raiders’ Owner Mark Davis to Brown’s teammates, supported him with his helmet grievance against the NFL, but Brown’s action on Wednesday crossed the line.

But let’s dig a little deeper into AB. The Raiders knew the type of personality they were acquiring when they traded for Brown. Gruden needs Brown and, more importantly, Brown needs Gruden and the Raiders. Since entering the NFL, this is the first time since he became a professional that Brown is being held accountable for his actions by his employer. The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed Brown to come late to meetings and team flights and even failed to discipline Brown for touchdown celebrations that cost the team 15 yards.

photo coutesy of silvernadblackpride.com
Photo courtesy of SilverAndBlackPride.com

Like I stated earlier, Gruden needs Brown on the field. He needs arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver who had 15 TD’s last year. Gruden supported Brown publicly and privately over his helmet issue and, to be transparent, Gruden thinks the world of Brown as a person. That is genuine love from Gruden to Brown and it’s not just because of what he can do for them on the field. The behavior of Brown is bizarre, and this could be a cry for help from AB. No person knows what is going through his head and what he is feeling. Hell, he may not even know. The Raiders have long been known to help the players in any and every way; now is the time they do the same for Brown.

It’s time they have a tough, honest conversation with Brown and his people.

I believe Brown, his agent Drew Rosenhaus, Mayock, Gruden, Davis, and quarterback Derek Carr, Brown’s close friend, need to meet, lock the door, and have a “come to Jesus” meeting to get everything squared away. The Raiders need to make it known to Brown that they are here for him and will get him any help he needs, but they also need to stay firm and hold him accountable for his actions. Brown cannot post fine letters from the GM on social media. What happens in the locker room needs to stay in the locker room. He needs to be on time and attend all team meetings, practices, team flights, and games. While feelings and emotions are running high right now, cooler heads need to prevail and both sides need to realize that they need each other equally.

Photo courtesy of Joe Arrigo’s twitter

If AB is so concerned about proving the Steelers and his former teammates wrong, he is surely doing a bad job of it. The Steelers and their fans are already laughing at Brown and the Raiders. Some are saying “We told you so, SUCKERS” to Raider Nation. Both fan bases are some of the best and most passionate in the NFL, and Brown already pissed off one fan base. I don’t think it would be wise if he did so to the other. As you can see from some tweets that I received on Thursday (@joearrigo), some are getting frustrated and questioning why the team is putting up with Brown.

The Raiders did sign offensive lineman Richie Incognito knowing he’ll have a suspension to serve, but since joining Oakland, Incognito has been a model citizen. The team also is helping Incognito and is extremely proactive in helping their players when dealing with mental health issues. The team knows Incognito has had some issues in the past but didn’t expect this amount of drama from Brown.

It’s a bizarre situation, more bizarre than what Raiders fans are used to, and that’s saying a lot. I’m not going to pile on Brown. I don’t know why he’s doing this. To say he is a “diva” is too easy. Let’s hope the Raiders and Brown, for his own good, find out why he lashes out and self-sabotages. A part of me honestly feels football be damned. I want AB right for himself and his family, for the rest of his life. The Raiders would benefit the most on the field if Brown and the team work it out, but long term and for the betterment of Brown, getting him the type of help he needs would be best for everyone involved. It all starts with being accountable and that falls on Brown. It’s time the Raiders make sure that happens for all involved.

 

Joe Arrigo

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