It was always going to get even worse. While Jon Gruden helplessly did his best to write a happy ending to the saga with his clearly frustrated receiver Antonio Brown by laughing off a taped phone call released by Brown and saying yesterday that Brown will avoid a suspension for Crackergate, it was all for naught. Brown finally, this morning on Instagram, just straight-up demanded that the Raiders release him.
Though at first it seemed like Brown was just saying what he meant all summer after a string of goofy shenanigans didn’t do the trick, Adam Schefter has some crucial context as to why Brown’s public dare to his franchise actually happened—he’s no longer guaranteed to get all the money he’s owed.
It really seems like NFL contracts shouldn’t be able to do this. Even in a league where “guaranteed” has a slippery meaning, the fact that a franchise has the power to strip a player of a truly staggering amount of money that they agreed to pay him all because of one specific argument with a GM smells like bullshit. Brown knows this, and because of that, his time in Oakland in over.
From the sound of that quote, even if the Raiders backtrack and restore Brown’s guarantees, there’s nothing more that can be done, because the trust there is completely broken. Congrats to the Raiders for continually redefining “rock bottom.”