Antonio Brown and Mike Mayock reportedly got into an altercation during Wednesday's practice, one that led to Brown threatening to punch the Raiders general manager before punting a football and telling Mayock to "fine him" for that.
Brown's initial displeasure stemmed from two separate fines he received from Mayock for missing practice and a walkthrough while he dealt with his helmet grievance with the NFL. Upon receiving notice of the fines, Brown posted the notice from the Raiders on Instagram and called out the team.
Then at practice, he initiated the discussion with Mayock which led to the blow-up, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported, citing league sources.
Sources told Anderson that Brown went up to Mayock to discuss the fines and called the Raiders GM a "cracker" before spewing a "barrage of cuss words" at Mayock.
A host of players, including Vontaze Burfict, attempted to separate the receiver from the GM as they could sense things were escalating. Mayock tried to defuse the situation by walking away, a source told Anderson.
Brown did not practice Thursday and the Raiders reportedly plan to suspend him.
On Friday, Brown denied using such language toward Mayock and says the whole thing was blown out of preportion.
Antonio Brown told me there was never a scuffle at practice. He said he did not use the word “cracker” and would never use that word...Everything has been blown out of proportion”— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 6, 2019
“I spoke with Mike Mayock 1-on-1, man-to-man.”
The seven-time Pro-Bowl selection unfollowed both the team and quarterback Derek Carr on Instagram on Thursday as the chasm between the team and player appears to widen. Should the Raiders suspend Brown for conduct detrimental to the team, they would then be able to void the remaining $29 million in guaranteed money the receiver is owed and cut him without penalty.
Brown has had a tumultuous offseason with frostbitten feet and the helmet grievance. He missed a majority of training camp, but coach Jon Gruden and Carr always raved about his work ethic and the positive impact he had on the team.
Now, Brown and the Raiders find themselves at a crossroads.
The Silver and Black want his Hall-of-Fame talent on the field, but a line had to be drawn with the way Brown has conducted himself. Now, it's up to Brown and his agent Drew Rosenhaus to mend the relationship and work to get Brown comfortable in the Raiders' culture, something Rosenhaus said has been hard for his client after his years with the Steelers.
The more talented you are, the more rope you get, but Brown is just about out of rope. Now, he has to reel himself back in.