AB Still Doesn’t Know How Contracts Work.

The Wall Street Journal

Another week, another odd Antonio Brown story. For bloggers and writers, it’s not bad, but c’mon AB, why don’t you take a couple days off? Its been an eventful couple months for Mr. Big Chest, and lost in the Tasmanian devil-esque whirlwind are 2 draft picks, 3 teams, 2 helmets, and almost 40 million dollars in what would have been guaranteed money.

In such a weird turn of events, the Raiders lost out on a 3rd round draft pick, and a 5th round draft pick, which only looks really bad in hind sight, but the loss still hurts a team that only held onto their prize for about 100 days. The Patriots probably won, basically getting AB for free to come and catch a touchdown against Miami (though he really wasn’t necessary, it’s Miami). The real loser of it all is AB himself, for quite a few reasons, but his personal image, reputation, and pockets are probably feeling the most pain. His feet probably hurt too, but that’s a completely different story.

We published an article here a few weeks ago that touched upon AB’s failure to read a contract that he signed with Oakland, and why he was dumb for complaining about losing guaranteed money he knew, or at least should have had a serious idea that he could lose. In a surprise to almost no one, Antonio Brown has begun to point the finger again, this time complaining that New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is a bad guy for refusing to pay AB the guaranteed money he was supposed to receive when he signed with the Patriots. Following his release this week, it’s no real surprise that New England is refusing to pay up. The only problem, again, is that New England’s ability to not pay his guaranteed money was written into his contract with New England.

According to AOL.com, a provision was written into Antonio Brown’s contract with the Patriots that his guarantees would be separated into multiple installments over the course of the one year deal. The first installment would have been paid on Monday, the 23rd.

Regardless, when detrimental activity occurs, it’s not uncommon that a team is able to extract itself from a contract with an athlete if it includes a morals clause. The Patriots wrote such a clause into the contract with Antonio Brown. The more recent allegations of sexual misconduct are almost assuredly an action that “undermines public respect for [the Club]”. It’s simply not a good look for the Patriots.

“If at any time prior to the end of the 2019 League Year, [Brown] : … takes any action that materially undermines the publics respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, Players teammates or the Club’s ownership, coaches, management, operations, or policies then, upon election of the Club, the guarantees set forth in this section 27 will be null and void, whether or not any such guarantee otherwise had been earned in accordance thereof.”

Antonio Brown’s Patriots Contract, Yahoosports.com

This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen a player’s contract deemed void after detrimental conduct. In 2013, Aaron Hernandez had his guarantees voided by the Patriots after being arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Also in 2015, the Indianapolis Colts voided the guaranteed money in Trent Richardson’s contract after they determined that his failure to attend a walkthrough and flight to a playoff game was “conduct detrimental” to the Club. The most recent instance of voiding guaranteed money should be quite familiar to AB, because it involved the Raiders and Antonio Brown himself, like a month ago. If history is any indicator, it doesn’t look great for Antonio Brown in his quest to retain any guaranteed money. The difference here is that unlike in Hernandez’s case, Antonio Brown signed a contract with unfavorable language. He should have known what he was signing, and he really shouldn’t be surprised at the Patriots’ stance.

Now, its clear that AB hasn’t given up on the “guaranteed money” he’s “owed” by the Oakland Raiders, as he’s filing grievances against his old teams. Yes, “teams” is plural, he intends on filing grievances against both New England and Oakland. One likely remedy for Brown is to receive his termination pay from New England, which is calculated to be 25% of his modest 1,025,000 base salary. But beyond that, AB is asking for a lot, including, but not limited to “three fines levied by the team, his unpaid Week 1 salary, his base salaries . . . for 2019 and 2020, and a $1 million signing bonus as part of his three-year, $54-million deal signed in March,” per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.

Time will tell whether or not AB will receive his guaranteed money, though it’s hard to see it going well. In the mean time, he’s reenrolled in classes at Central Michigan. Maybe he should take a contracts course while he’s there.

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