It took less than a day for the NFL to respond to Antonio Brown’s apparent plan to get the league to allow him to that is no longer an approved model by the league. The NFL‘s response, issued by spokesman Brian McCarthy, essentially boils down to: “That’s not how this is gonna go.”
“The player can’t practice or play in games with equipment that’s not approved,” McCarthy said, clearly referencing Brown even if not specifying him by name. “If he doesn’t play or practice he is in breach of his contract and doesn’t get paid. NFL policy is that Helmets have to be certified by NOSCAE. They don’t certify equipment that’s old(er) than 10 years.”
Over the weekend, it was reported by The Athletic that during his grievance hearing regarding the now un-approved helmet, Brown’s legal team told the league that if Brown “suffered a head injury in a helmet that he is compelled to wear, he would hold the league liable.”
As our John Breech wrote this weekend, “Brown’s situation is unique compared to other players who wore an illegal helmet last year and that’s because his helmet never failed any sort of safety test. Although 11 different helmets have been banned by the league for failing the safety test — including the model that Tom Brady used to wear — Brown’s helmet is only banned because it hasn’t been certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and the NFL doesn’t allow players to use any uncertified helmets.”
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora pointed out on Friday that NOCSAE does not certify helmets over 10 years old, which is why Brown’s 12-year-old Schutt Air Advantage helmet — which the company discontinued making in 2011 — is now illegal. Raiders coach Jon Gruden has indicated that the in his quest to be allowed to wear his usual helmet, and that he expects Brown to contribute to the team for a long time. If the expected situation occurs and Brown is not allowed to wear that helmet, we’ll soon find out if he will go through with his threat to retire from football.