If there was any question as to whether the Patriots would refuse to pay on Monday the first installment of receiver Antonio Brown‘s already-earned $9 million signing bonus, that question was resolved in the form of a single tweet from Brown.
Brown’s impulsive, unfiltered Sunday morning tweetstorm (where have we seen those before?) included a misguided attempt to compare Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s misdemeanor solicitation charges with the accusation that Brown sexually assaulted and raped his former trainer. It was part of a what-about?-ism rant from Brown, who also cited the 2010 suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and past allegations against Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, a Brown critic.
The Patriots surely won’t be giving Brown the benefit of the doubt now, forcing him to file a grievance to obtain his $9 million signing bonus and the full balance of his $1 million base salary. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that a grievance is indeed coming.
It’s a no-lose proposition for the Patriots, since their worst-case scenario will be a ruling that requires them to pay what already was owed, without interest, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, or other disincentives to denying a player what his contract says he is owed.
If, in the end, the Patriots are required to pay Brown, maybe they should take a page out of the Kramer-buying-calzones playbook and pay AB in change.