Amid the ongoing controversy regarding the rape and sexual assault accusations he is facing, New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown reportedly lost his sponsorship deal with helmet manufacturer Xenith on Friday.
The news of Brown being dropped by Xenith was first reported on Twitter by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who quoted a statement from the company that did not make mention of the wide receiver nor the lawsuit that was recently filed against him.
“We look forward to seeing the Xenith Shadow worn by football athletes at all levels of play this fall.”
According to Bleacher Report, Xenith’s decision to end its business relationship with Brown came just nine days after the company confirmed that the superstar receiver would be wearing the Xenith Shadow for the 2019 NFL season. Prior to his endorsement deal with Xenith, Brown lost a grievance to wear Schutt’s Air Advantage helmet – a piece of equipment that is no longer authorized by the NFL.
Interestingly, the publication also pointed out that Brown was spotted on Wednesday during his first practice with the Patriots while he was wearing a league-approved Schutt Air XP helmet.
It was the aforementioned issues regarding Brown and his helmet preference that, in a way, escalated the drama between the seven-time Pro Bowler and his former team, the Oakland Raiders. As recalled by The Inquisitr, the helmet controversy was quickly followed by a series of incidents that was highlighted by a heated argument between Brown and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and a number of Instagram posts where “AB” criticized his now-former team, including one last Saturday where he asked to be released.
On that very same Saturday, Brown agreed to sign a one-year, $15 million contract with the New England Patriots, just hours after Oakland granted his release request.
Josh Gordon refers to “the great Antonio Brown” when asked about the newest Patriot. He also notes he is “by far” in the best shape since he’s been here, and is excited to see how that might pay off around the midpoint of the season. pic.twitter.com/u6SRkhEGO5— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 13, 2019
As Xenith apparently did not go into specifics when it announced that it would be dropping Brown as a helmet endorser, it’s not clear whether the company did so because of the legal issues he is currently facing. On Tuesday, Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, alleged in a lawsuit that the player, who was then suiting up for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sexually assaulted her on three different occasions in 2017 and 2018.
Apart from quoting Xenith’s statement, ESPN’s Schefter said in a separate tweet on Friday that the NFL decided, for the meantime, not to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list while it investigates into the rape and sexual assault allegations. That makes him eligible to make his Patriots debut on Sunday, where they will be hosted by the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 action.