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NFL star Antonio Brown searches for loophole after losing grievance case over banned helmet design

NFL star Antonio Brown searches for loophole after losing grievance case over banned helmet design
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown’s battle with the authorities may not yet be over, despite losing his grievance with the NFL over the use of a non-approved helmet in the coming season.

An arbitration hearing found in favor of the NFL, who ruled that the league was fair in preventing former Pittsburgh Steelers star Brown from playing in his old helmet, which no longer fits the safety criteria laid out in the NFL’s rules.

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It led to Brown threatening to quit playing if he could not play in his tried and trusted helmet design, but the hearing went against him and he issued a statement on Monday, saying he disagreed with the decision but was still looking forward to playing his part for the Raiders in the season ahead.

“While I disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, I’m working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field,” he tweeted.

“I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet! #AlwaysAFight #Represent #itsbiggerthanme”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy explained the reasoning for the ruling, saying: “The player can’t practice or play in games with equipment that’s not approved,” he tweeted. “If he doesn’t play or practice he is in breach of his contract and doesn’t get paid. NFL policy is that Helmets have to be certified by NOSCAE. They don’t certify equipment that’s older than 10 years."

Brown’s preferred helmet, the Schutt Air Advantage, was discontinued three years ago due to updated technology, and the NFL’s adherence to the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association policy that states helmets 10 years or older cannot be recertified means Brown’s preferred helmet design is now effectively banned from use.

But it seems Brown hasn’t fully given up on being able to take to the field in his chosen headgear this season, as he took to Twitter to ask if anyone had his preferred helmet model manufactured in 2010 or after, and offered a signed practice-worn Raiders helmet in return.

It seems Brown is looking to work his way around the regulations, but it remains to be seen whether he will be successful, and what his reaction will be if his latest attempt is rebuffed by the NFL.