Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY
Published 11: 28 a.m. ET Aug. 13, 2019
What I’m Hearing: An arbitrator denied Antonio Brown’s request to wear his own helmet. As our own Mike Jones reports, that ruling isn’t expected to stop him from playing in 2019.
USA TODAYAntonio Brown is now getting creative to solve his helmet issue.One day after the Oakland Raiders wide receiver had his grievance against the NFL denied, Brown posted a message on his verified Twitter account seeking a newer edition of a discontinued Schutt helmet in a last-ditch attempt to continue wearing the model he has used throughout his career.”I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after,” Brown tweeted on Tuesday. “In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet.”On Monday, USA TODAY Sports reported that Brown’s grievance to a neutral independent arbitrator was denied. “I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet.”— AB (@AB84) August 13, 2019The NFL will not permit players to wear any helmets that are not certified by the National Operating Commission on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). And NOCSAE will not certify any helmets that are 10 years or older.Brown is seeking to wear the Schutt AiR Advantage, which was discontinued in 2011. The NFL and the NFL Players Association in recent seasons have been proactive about testing the efficacy of helmets and have run models through a series of lab tests. The helmets that performed poorest have been banned for use in the league.In every locker room in the league, equipment managers have put up a poster with recommended helmet models that performed best in testing, while showing the list of banned ones. Because the Schutt AiR Advantage that Brown seeks to use is no longer made, it wasn’t put through testing in the joint NFL-NFLPA program, so it is therefore not on the list of banned helmets.“Recertification of previously certified helmets is done by reconditioners who are required to follow the NOCSAE standard for recertification,” NOCSAE executive director and legal counsel Mike Oliver wrote in an email to USA TODAY Sports. “The reconditioners’ association, NAERA, has adopted a 10 year rule that prohibits their members from reconditioning and recertifying helmets older than 10 years. NOCSAE has no control over the NAERA management or administration.“With that said, if there are Air Advantage models still available with a manufacturing date of 2010 or later, those would be eligible for recertification, assuming they aren’t otherwise disqualified, e.g., have cracked shells or have had permanent alterations made to the shell or have been painted with improper paint, etc.”The NFL did not respond to a request for comment.Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide
Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY