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Arbitrator rules against Antonio Brown

Raiders coach Jon Gruden defended his star receiver after his foot injury and helmet drama, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms wonder how long he will want to put up with his antics.

The gavel has fallen quickly, and decisively. And just in time to be addressed by this week’s episode of Hard Knocks. (Eye roll emoji. If there is one.)

PFT has confirmed that a neutral, independent arbitrator has ruled against Raiders receiver Antonio Brown in a grievance filed regarding the league’s refusal to allow Brown to wear a helmet that is too old to be recertified. Mike Jones of USA Today first reported the development.

The decision isn’t a surprise. The NFL and NFL Players Association have worked together to identify procedures for determining helmets that can and can’t be used. By pushing back against that effort, Brown’s is taking on one of the few things on which the league and union have agreed.

So what’s next? Brown has threatened to retire if he can’t wear his helmet of choice. His legal team reportedly has made the baseless (and, frankly, reckless) suggestion that the NFL will be liable for any injury Brown suffers wearing a helmet that he’s not comfortable wearing.

If he’s not comfortable, maybe he should retire. Safety equipment is mandatory in various industries. Either the workers wear the approved equipment, or they find a new job. And if Brown decides to find a new job, hundreds will be lining up to take the job he no longer wants.