Antonio Brown, the infamous ex-NFL athlete has created a trail of mayhem over the past eight months both personally and professionally. Read about his journey since March and why it is important for brands to understand the power a person can hold over their reputation.
Brown returns to training camp but loses his first grievance for his non-regulated helmet. Brown again leaves training camp early which causes him to be fined for $40,000.
August 22, 2019
Brown skips a mandatory pre-game walkthrough and is charged $13, 950. Three days later Brown loses his second grievance to wear his preferred helmet.
September 4, 2019
Brown posts a private letter on Instagram sent to him from Raiders general manager Mike Mayok. The letter which informed him of his $13,950 fine, advised him not to continue to miss mandatory team activities.
September 5, 2019
Reports leak that Brown will be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team. Although, the next day Brown is back in the building and apologizes during the team meeting. Things are seeming to look up for Brown and his position on the Raiders.
Britney Taylor, a former trainer for the New England Patriots accuses Brown of rape and names three different incidences where Brown sexually assaulted her in 2017 and 2018.
September 13, 2019
Xenith the helmet manufacturer, dropped Brown from their helmet partnership. It is still unclear if Xenith dropped the endorsement with Brown because of the sexual assault allegations or because he decided to wear a different helmet brand.
September 15, 2019
Brown plays his first game on the Patriots with four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. This was his first and only game on the team.
A spokesperson for Nike announces that Brown no longer has a shoe deal with Nike and was released from being a Nike athlete. Despite the spokesperson declining to speak on Nike’s decision, signs suggest Brown’s sexual assault allegations are what prompted the release.
Brown states he will not be playing in the NFL anymore in a series of tweets.
September 23, 2019
Brown announces he has re-enrolled for online classes at Central Michigan State, posting his schedule to his Instagram story. Brown played three seasons at CMU and continues to hold reign as the school’s all-time leading receiver.
What if Nike would have waited another week to release Brown? Or what if the Patriots decided to keep him on the team for the rest of his contract? Would this have affected their reputation or would it have brought them more attention? When a brand decides on a specific person to sponsor in order to leverage their marekting efforts, they have to be incredibly careful about who they choose. Endorsements are nothing new to the sports realm and athletes can lose them fairly fast if their behavoir doesn’t line up with the company’s morals. Although, who decides when it’s the right time to release an athlete, how do they know when it will become detremental to the brand?