Antonio Brown Facing Discipline From Raiders as Season Begins
Antonio Brown’s future with the Oakland Raiders is in doubt before he even plays a game for the team.
Just days before Oakland’s regular-season opener, on Monday night against the Denver Broncos, Brown, the team’s gifted but combustible receiver, is facing discipline from the Raiders after reportedly threatening to punch General Manager Mike Mayock during an argument about the nearly $54,000 in fines Brown has accrued for missing time in training camp.
“Short and sweet: Antonio Brown’s not in the building today, he won’t be practicing,” Mayock told reporters Thursday at the team’s facility in Alameda, Calif. “I don’t have any more information for you right now, and when I have some and it becomes appropriate, you guys will all get it, I promise you, but that’s it for today.”
Speaking after practice, Coach Jon Gruden said there would be an official announcement later Thursday on Brown’s status.
“We’ve been practicing without him and preparing to play,” Gruden said. “No matter who’s injured, you have to play. Unfortunately, we had to adapt again today.”
The altercation with Mayock, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, marks the latest frustrating episode for the Raiders in their six months with Brown, who signed a three-year extension with $30.1 million guaranteed after being acquired from Pittsburgh in March for two draft choices.
If the Raiders choose to suspend Brown, he can miss at most four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team, according to the collective bargaining agreement. It’s also possible that team officials attempt to recover Brown’s $30.1 million of guaranteed money.
Brown reported to training camp in July with frostbitten feet, apparently sustained in a misadventure in a cryotherapy chamber, then left for two weeks to pursue treatment. He also demanded that he be permitted to wear a certain helmet even though it no longer meets the safety standards mandated by the N.F.L. and its players association. He filed two grievances before ultimately relenting.
He missed practice on Aug. 18, when Mayock said Brown must decide whether “it’s time for him to be all in, or all out,” and then a walk-through on Aug. 22, before the Raiders’ third preseason game. For that, he was docked $13,950, as indicated in the letter Mayock wrote notifying him of that fine, which Brown posted to an Instagram story on Wednesday. Brown added a caption: “When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear.”
Mayock was furious that Brown publicized that letter, according to multiple reports, and although no punches were thrown during their confrontation Wednesday, according to the NFL Network, Brown said that he would punch Mayock in the face. Then Brown punted a ball and told the general manager to fine him.
When Gruden was asked Thursday about Brown’s Instagram post, he said he didn’t want to discuss the matter any further, saying he was happy to answer questions about the players present.
“I’ve been talking about the same guy every day,” Gruden said.
Ben Shpigel is a sports reporter and has covered the N.F.L. and the New York Jets since 2011. He has also covered the New York Yankees and, before that, the Mets. He previously worked for The Dallas Morning News. @benshpigel
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