Antonio Brown won't play unless he's allowed to wear his 10-year-old helmet, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The NFL requires players to wear equipment certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment. One of NOCSAE's rules is that helmets must not be older than 10 years, making Brown's helmet no longer certified.
Brown has worn the helmet for his entire NFL career.
Schefter reports that Brown had a two-hour conference call with league officials on Friday to argue why he should be allowed to wear the helmet he prefers, and not one the league requires. The Raiders have given Brown multiple certified helmets to try, but he doesn't like any of them because he says they obstruct his vision.
The report also says that the helmet has been a point of contention since the start of training camp, and that his absence from Raiders training camp now has more to do with the helmet than his ongoingfrostbitten feet saga.
Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver tweeted that the helmet drama has caused a stir among teammates and coaches, one of whom called it “honestly the most insane thing I have ever heard. I don’t know why it’s so important to him. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Silver reports that the helmet saga dates back to the first day of OTAs. Brown showed up and requested his old helmet, and was told that it was no longer permitted. Brown said that other players, like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, also had banned helmets and weren't subjected to the same scrutiny, and Brown left the facility. After Brown left, Raiders officials texted him video footage of Rodgers wearing an approved helmet at Packers OTAs.
Brown reportedly went through the rest of OTAs with the new approved helmet. Once training camp began, he tried to sneak the old helmet onto the field, and was caught and told to get rid of it. Now, he isn't showing up at all.
“He’s still freaking out about it,” one Raiders player told Silver. “He hasn’t been here for awhile, and no one knows where he’s at.”
After the reports on the helmet situation came out, Brown posted the following message on his Instagram:
"I love the game; I love the hustle ; young-in got doe he can leave the league but if I leave will the fans still gone love me man? #paidinfull"