“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” will return for its 28th season on Tuesday, Jan. 25, (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT).
The season premiere is highlighted by Bryant Gumbel’s exclusive interview with Antonio Brown. The former NFL All-Pro wideout and his lawyer, Sean Burstyn, joins Bryant virtually from Tampa.
Antonio Brown has been making his rounds since his unforgettable and dramatic exit from the Tampa Buccaneers in the third quarter of a game against the New York Jets. He’s been hanging with Madonna and Kanye, making records with Rick Ross, doing the podcast circuit, publicly letting teams like Lamar Jackson’s Ravens know he would be willing to sign with them and making sure that his side of the story is heard on reputable media outlets.
The Gumbel name is as official as it gets when it comes to hard-hitting sports journalism
The Shadow League has secured an excerpt from HBO previewing the interview, which is sure to be calmer and more serious than other interviews you’ve seen AB do.
They covered a number of topics, including AB’s explosive exit from the team and his interaction with head coach Bruce Arians that led up to it. He makes some serious accusations against the organization in justifying his dramatic exit.
BRYANT GUMBEL: According to the team — you didn’t say anything to either coach Bruce Arians or the team’s medical personnel — on — during the game or on the sidelines on Jan. 2. True or false?
ANTONIO BROWN: False.
SEAN BURSTYN: We actually, Bryant, have documentary and contemporaneous evidence that Antonio did tell Bruce Arians that his ankle was hurt on the sideline. Because the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interviewed Bruce Arians the Sunday night shortly after the game and texted our camp the notes from that interview, which state that Bruce Arians told the GM that Antonio complained on the sideline about his ankle injury. So there’s no question. I think both sides, at least privately, are in agreement that Antonio’s ankle was injured and he directly told the team about that.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Arians says, that when he told you to go in the game you said nothing about pain or injury. True?
ANTONIO BROWN: Untrue. Man, I told him my ankle. And he said, “What?” He said, “Get the f-ck outta here, you’re done.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: He said you said, quote, “I ain’t playing. I ain’t gettin’ the ball.” Is that a lie?
ANTONIO BROWN: No, no. That’s a lie.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Flat-out lie.
ANTONIO BROWN: Flat-out lie.
BRYANT GUMBEL: So what possessed you then to do what you did?
ANTONIO BROWN: You know, what would you do? I was hurt. At that point, you know, I don’t wanna wear your equipment. I don’t wanna be affiliated with the logos and, you know, I — I just took it off and — and got outta there.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Given your history, is it any wonder that most observers think your arguments lack both credibility and sympathy?
ANTONIO BROWN: I mean, this ain’t about no past and no credibility. It’s about a player getting treated — getting treated unfairly and unjustly.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Prior to the game on Jan. 2, the game against the New York Jets — at the Meadowlands — were you given shots of Toradol?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely. Right before the game I was given Toradol.
SEAN BURSTYN: We actually have, Bryant, in the medical records that we’ve reviewed, evidence that the team regularly injected Antonio with Toradol. So he couldn’t feel the damage that he was doing to his ankle until it got to that threshold point where he told his coach, “Coach, I can’t play because of my ankle.” And the coach’s response to that was, “Get the eff off the field.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: Okay, so — so the Bucs shot you with Toradol in the week before — before the Carolina game, correct?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely.
BRYANT GUMBEL: They shot you again before the Jets game, correct?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely.
BRYANT GUMBEL: And Arians claims that at halftime then you were upset about not getting ball — more balls thrown your way. True or false? Is he lying?
ANTONIO BROWN: False. it’s not worryin’ about the ball. Tom Brady is my guy. He’s the reason I’m on Tampa Bay, so I know I’m gonna get the ball.
ANTONIO BROWN: Yeah, these guys at Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they’re talking about.
BRYANT GUMBEL: They offered you $200,000 for what?
SEAN BURSTYN: The off — the offer was Antonio would basically sit on the sidelines, go on some list — and commit himself to some form of intensive mental health treatment. And we were specifically told, in writing, by the general manager, twice, “Don’t spin this any other way.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: Are you suggesting — that a defamation lawsuit is — is possible?
SEAN BURSTYN: Defamation comes to mind.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Your figures, give me a number.
ANTONIO BROWN: A whole lotta money. A whole lot. It’s — it’s totally disrespect, man. You know, it’s — mental health is an important key in the world, so to drag people along and play on people’s mental health, you know, it’s — it’s unfair and unfortunate.
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