Wide receiver Antonio Brown isn't in the NFL at the moment, but he is of the opinion that his return is very near. He has been striving to stay in shape for a potential return, working out at local fields with anyone that is willing. As multiple videos show, Brown appears to be ready to pair with an NFL quarterback, provided he is cleared to return, but there is something else that is drawing the ire of fans.
In one recent post, Brown showed himself running a route and beating a defender in coverage. Fairly standard footage for his social media accounts, but the detail that had many up in arms is that he was wearing an Oakland Raiders helmet. Brown never actually played for the Silver and Black after forcing his release the Saturday prior to week one, and he has made it clear in the past that he would never play for the Raiders.
Based on these details, the fans on social media were very unhappy to see Brown wearing the colors of the Bay Area team, especially considering that he filed a grievance against the Raiders in pursuit of $30 million. In the eyes of many, the 31-year-old did not deserve to wear this helmet.
Of course, there were many other users on social media that used this clip as another opportunity to make jokes about Brown and the headlines that he has created in recent months. The simple fact that he was wearing a Raiders helmet just made the whole scenario more humorous for them.
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty
That your fake raiders helmet— catch the damn ball (@pghpls) November 21, 2019
One of the biggest storylines from Brown's short tenure with the Oakland Raiders was that he was missing the majority of training camp due to frostbitten feet, as well as a helmet issue. Under NFL rules, he wasn't allowed to wear his old helmet, which prompted Brown to file a grievance and miss considerable practice time.
As it turns out, this grievance was not the only aspect of this helmet issue that drew criticism. There were also reports that surfaced about Brown painting his old helmet to make it look like one of the league-approved pieces of gear. He even reportedly tried to sneak the helmet onto the practice field but was caught by the training staff.
Hey @RosenhausSports, tell your boy to lose the Raider helmet...he acted in bad faith during the offseason/preseason, refused to show up to the minimal tasks required of him, verbally threatened our GM, and used social media as a crux to force a release. How do you like this?!?— Ruthless Raider JT (@RuthlessJT) November 21, 2019
While there were many members of Raider Nation that were simply over the entire Antonio Brown experience and didn't want to pay attention to this video, there were others that were decidedly angrier about the situation. In fact, they saw the Raiders helmet and felt that this was something that should be addressed by those closest to the 31-year-old receiver.
At this point, there are questions about whether or not Brown will listen to anyone's advice, but the fans believe that his agent could potentially have an impact. With this in mind, they reached out to Drew Rosenhaus and asked him to address the helmet situation.
Take the helmet off. You will never be a RAIDER.— raiderdefendi (@mrr8der34) November 21, 2019
The most popular saying among members of Raider Nation, as well as the team, is "Once a Raider, Always a Raider." Those that embrace the Silver and Black and strive to make the team better are similarly met with adoration from the fanbase. This is why players such as Phil Villapiano, Charles Woodson, and Marcel Reece are beloved in the Bay Area.
On the other end of the scale, two former wide receivers sit. Both Randy Moss – who reportedly quit on the team – and Antonio Brown have voiced considerable criticism against the Raiders and have been subsequently denied being called members of the team.
Steelers pants and a raider helmet?— JM19 (@Joycestacy13) November 21, 2019
The members of Raider Nation were noticeably upset about Antonio Brown wearing their team colors, but they weren't the only ones irked by this video. In fact, there were fans of another team that found Brown's outfit a little bothersome. Specifically, black and yellow pants were causing concern.
Prior to joining and leaving the Oakland Raiders, Brown spent nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and became their top option in the passing attack. He was very prolific for the Black and Yellow, but this relationship ended in an ugly manner as Brown was benched during the 2018 season finale and ultimately forced his way out of town via trade. He also spent the offseason creating headlines with comments and social media posts about his former teammates.
Pretty sure you only inspire quitters who change their mind about quitting every 5 minutes.— Jacob Primrose (@jsprimrose99) November 21, 2019
Antonio Brown's video certainly drew the ire of many football fans, especially those in Raider Nation, but there was something else that inspired critique. In the post on social media, Brown wrote that he was "excited to get back on the field and inspire others." This comment is understandable considering that he grew up in Florida and had to fight for his early-career success.
That being said, there were many users on social media that were concerned about the exact inspiration that Brown would be providing. Would he be doing more damage to the upcoming football players? For many, the answer is a resounding yes.
Losing Antonio Brown two days prior to the season-opening game was frustrating for many Oakland Raiders fans, but what made the entire situation unbearable is the manner in which he responded. Following the team granting his release, Brown posted a video on social media and on YouTube that showed him running around in his backyard and celebrating that he was no longer a member of the Raiders.
To cap off the video, Brown called his grandma to talk about how he was finally "free" from the Silver and Black. For many fans, this was truly a terrible thing to do, and they responded by altering screenshots from Brown's video.
Wow you got some separation from some rando 😂— PrincessTeagan❤️ (@PrincesssTeagan) November 21, 2019
The purpose of this video was to show that Brown is ready to suit up for whatever team will sign him, but that's not it was viewed by many on social media. Yes, the route worked and resulted in the defensive back struggling to keep pace, but there were many who had questions about the entire scenario.
Specifically, there were some on Twitter that wanted to know who was trying to cover Brown. Was this a former NFL player? Was it a high school kid in Miami? There were many that weren't going to be impressed by this play until they knew all of the details.