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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Antonio Brown could face legal, NFL trouble over Jon Gruden conversation?

Jon Gruden

Antonio Brown is ready to move on from the Oakland Raiders now that he has agreed to a deal with the New England Patriots, but he may have some legal issues to sort through from his brief time in the Bay Area.

One of the last things Brown did before he was released by the Raiders last week was share a YouTube video that featured audio of a (presumably) private phone conversation he had with Oakland head coach Jon Gruden. While Gruden said he was amused by the video and thought it was “awesome,” TMZ noted on Monday that recording a phone conversation without a person’s consent is illegal in the state of California and carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

What does that mean? Possibly nothing. There’s virtually no chance Brown would spend time in jail over the audio recording even if Gruden reported it to the authorities, but he did commit a misdemeanor crime if the conversation was recorded in California and Gruden was unaware.

The audio featured Gruden telling Brown he is not a villain and that he is simply misunderstood, with Brown saying he wants to be a Raider but is “more than just a football player.” It was more self-serving for the star receiver than anything, and nothing in it made Gruden look bad. For that reason, it would be a surprise if the coach pursued charges against Brown, unless he is beyond irate about the way Brown embarrassed the Raiders over the past several weeks.

Of course, the NFL could also investigate to see whether Brown violated the league’s personal conduct policy even if the authorities don’t get involved. Again, that seems unlikely.

If sharing the conversation he had with Gruden was one of the pieces of advice Brown got from the social media experts he consulted, he may want to have a word with them. Forcing his way out of Oakland is one thing, but he probably wasn’t aware that he may have broken the law.

UPDATE: The man who produced Brown’s video says Gruden gave them permission to share it on social media and loved the idea.

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