The Oakland Raiders have released embattled wide receiver Antonio Brown from his contract. The NFL’s official Twitter account posted the update.
Hours prior to the announcement, Brown took to Instagram to express his frustrations and make his desires perfectly clear: “Release me.”
The post Brown uploaded reads, “You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you.”
Brown captioned the post with a brief statement saying he’s not “mad” at anyone, he’s just “asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.”
Fans following the debacle between Brown and the Raiders know that the issue stems from his desire to continue to wear the same helmet he has worn for his entire career in the NFL. The league has said that the helmet is no longer approved. Brown filed a grievance on Aug. 9 but an arbitrator denied his request. His second grievance, filed Aug. 19, was equally unsuccessful.
So acrimonious was the relationship between Brown and his bosses that, as TMZ reports, at one point the wide receiver and Raiders manager Mike Mayock got into a shouting match.
According to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brown says the new NFL-approved helmets interfere with his ability to play.
“Antonio Brown believes the new helmet that the rules mandate he wears protrudes out and interferes with his vision as he tries to catch football [sic]. The Raiders have been sending Brown other approved helmets to try out but, at this time, he is not interested in wearing any of them.”
View this post on Instagram
And that’s fine ! I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines.Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that has failed me all those years. “I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.” Release me @raiders #NOMore #theyputblindersonahorseforareason #NoMoreFake
Brown is now a free agent and can sign with any team in the NFL, and could be cleared to play as early as Week 2. Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said for his part that he’s sticking with his guy and will work on getting him a new contract.
“Now that Antonio is a free agent, we are focused on the future and I will immediately work on signing him to a new team. Antonio is looking forward to a new beginning.”
However, since the matter of the helmet is a league issue, and not a Raiders issue, Brown will almost certainly have to switch to the new helmet, regardless of which team, if any, eventually signs him.
As for the Raiders, they’ll be emerging from the situation scot-free, not having to pay as much as a single cent of the three year, $50 million contract they signed with him before the season began.
As of this writing, no team appears to have expressed interest in Brown.