The NFL has announced sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy, including a new change that would allow them to punish players for things they did before they came into the NFL. However, one change is specifically because of the antics that former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown demonstrated on his way out of the league, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Florio reports that the Deshaun Watson case, in addition to Brown’s antics before he signed with the New England Patriots. The specific incident that Florio is zeroing in on was during that period between when Brown was released by the Raiders and signed with the Patriots.
Antonio Brown was sued for sexual assault and rape and knew about the impending litigation before signing with the Patriots. As a result, the Patriots released Brown after he played only one game with the team. Since Brown did not disclose that information to New England, it left them in a disadvantaged spot.
Under the new rules, the player must reveal things such as this impending litigation to the team that will sign them. Brown’s incident specifically served as the motive for changing this policy and making it stricter.
“In addition, active and prospective players have an obligation to promptly disclose any such incidents to their club or the league office before signing a contract with a club,” the new policy says.
Largely, Brown is not the only reason this changed, but is one of the main reasons. Brown earned money in a settlement after being waived by the Patriots, but the new policy cuts out that avenue should a player not tell the team prior to signing that incidents could be on the horizon.
Brown, 34, was one of the most dominant receivers in NFL history in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010-18, but since then has caused a slew of on- and off-the-field issues, including several lawsuits, arrests, sexual assault allegations and a lengthy suspension. His last on-field game was him running off the field shirtless against the New York Jets in 2021.