NFL News, Oakland Raiders

Jon Gruden is tearing Raiders apart over Antonio Brown

The Oakland Raiders are still putting up with Antonio Brown and his endless nonsense. Blame him, but also blame head coach Jon Gruden.

Kids are reflections of parents. In the NFL, players are often reflections of leadership.

Antonio Brown has been acting like a petulant child for months. Jon Gruden has allowed it to fester without end.

Gruden, he of the 10-year, $100 million contract, has all the juice in Oakland. Mike Mayock may technically be higher on the organizational chart as general manager, but he’s under Gruden’s thumb. This is what happens when you hand someone an irrationally absurd contract.

Speaking of irrational, back to Brown. The issues this summer are well-documented from frostbitten feet and an outlawed helmet to threatening to punch Mayock while allegedly calling him a cracker. On Friday, it appeared we reached a zenith with Brown finally apologizing to the team. Then, hours later, he posted a YouTube video of a recorded conversation between himself, Gruden and agent Drew Rosenhaus.

On Saturday morning, Brown requested his release on Instagram upon the news the Raiders were voiding the guarantees in his contract and fining him $215,073.53.

Back to Gruden. According to multiple reporters, the Raiders were set to suspend Brown on Thursday, a day after his run-in with Mayock. The popular notion was Oakland could recoup its $30 million in guarantees and move on without Brown. Instead, Gruden told reporters in a Friday press conference he anticipates Brown will play on Monday night against the Denver Broncos.

The statement effectively neutered Mayock both here and going forward.

It’s evident Mayock is furious and fed up. It’s also evident Gruden doesn’t care. He’s taken up for Brown numerous times, despite a continued campaign from his star receiver to cause irreparable damage to the team.

Gruden understands that without Brown, the Raiders are toothless offensively. Oakland would be trotting out Tyreek Williams, Hunter Renfrow and J.J. Nelson in three-wide sets.

Still, Gruden is missing the larger picture. By keeping Brown despite his obnoxious behavior, Gruden is letting every Raiders veteran know Brown is above the team. It’s also setting a horrendous precedent for the younger players, who see Brown’s antics and may now believe talent equals an unending free pass.

With Brown publicly stating he wants out, the Raiders should oblige. They should have fired him before. Hell, a rebuilding team never should have acquired Brown in the first place, but it’s the Raiders, and it’s Gruden. There’s always a circus ready to park its trailers in Oakland, and Gruden is more than happy to waive any and all rent fees.

Only 48 hours away from the start of their final season, Gruden is faced with a choice. Finally move on, or dig in for good. Brown wants out. Mayock assuredly has seen enough. The 52 other players in Oakland are worn out watching this tire fire. If Gruden doesn’t release or suspend Brown, the soap opera intensifies and continues.

Brown is Oakland’s most talented kid. Sometimes, though, a good parent sets the tough example.

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