NFL

Did Antonio Brown break the law with his latest stunt?

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown just can’t stay out of trouble. His latest stunt, however, may actually be against the law.

Because we all knew the drama surrounding the Oakland Raiders and Antonio Brown couldn’t be over, late Friday night the wide receiver shared this video on Youtube. It depicts a conversation between Brown and his head coach Jon Gruden.

In the video, Gruden says a lot of nice things about Brown. He calls him one of the most misunderstood human beings. Gruden says he’s never seen a guy work harder. It’s obvious that Gruden was trying to reach out to his superstar and calm the seas between him and the team.

Gruden towards the end of the video asks Brown to stop his you-know-what and just play football. “How hard is that?” Gruden says, “Just play football.” It goes on this rant about how he’s more than football, and that there “ain’t no more games.” Well, there’s clearly some missing context here because that’s where the video ends.

There’s a major, major problem for Brown with this video. He may have broken the law when he recorded it. There are 11 states in the nation that have what we call two-party consent. That means everyone involved in the conversation, including the person at the beginning of the phone call who patched them in, gives consent for the call to be recorded. This is the California law against recording conversations in secret:

A person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, uses anelectronic amplifying or recording device to eavesdrop upon or record the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation, or imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

So, we have to assume a couple of things here. One, we have to assume Gruden did not consent for his conversations with his players to be recorded. Gruden seems like a wild head coach, but consenting to be recorded without first knowing the use seems improbable.

Second, how are the Raiders and Gruden going to react? This all likely stemmed from the latest fine against Brown from GM Mike Mayock. Was it a good decision to fine Brown when your head coach is trying to bring him back in the locker room? Who knows. This whole situation is completely out of control. However, Brown probably either records all of his phone calls, which could get him in a lot of trouble, or recorded this call with Gruden knowing the media coverage surrounding him, and knowing he might want to change his own narrative.

Next: Antonio Brown: “I’m not the bad guy”

It feels dirty that Brown edited the conversation, taking out some major, major context. We learned with Tyreek Hill earlier this year the difference between an edited conversation and the full conversation. This doesn’t sound like Brown is trying to put Gruden in a bad light, but trying to put himself in a good light. Still, perception is reality, and some will perceive this phone call how they want. It wasn’t Brown’s right to do that, especially in the state of California.

Will the district attorney pursue criminal charges here? We’ve seen them make an example out of celebrities before. We should know more in the morning once this video circulates and we know how the Raiders are going to react.

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