Image Credit: Getty Images
If you’re an NFL fan, Sunday morning you woke up to get ready for game day. Instead, you were bombarded by the media’s coverage of Antonio Brown‘s Twitter tirade.
Brown woke up on Sunday morning, took a page from Trump and went on a now-deleted Twitter tirade (we captured it below), attacking and ratting out individuals across the NFL who he feels wronged him.
This list includes Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe and Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown even went as low as to celebrate the harassment of a Sports Illustrated writer by Patriots’ fans for writing a story on a second accuser that eventually led to AB’s dismissal from New England.
Brown’s domination of the NFL news cycle over the last few months hasn’t been for good reason.
The Antonio Brown Saga Timeline
Since being traded by the Steelers to Oakland in March, the talented, yet drama breeding receiver, has seemingly worked his way out of the NFL through his own actions.
He injured his feet through frostbite, practiced with the Raiders for a limited time and then shut things down for two weeks while he healed up and fought the NFL over the now infamous helmet issue.
He returned to the team but missed the remainder of the preseason. Then he completely flipped the script and took to IG to post a letter from Raiders’ GM, Mike Mayock, regarding being fined over $53,000 for unexcused absences.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 4, 2019
Brown then got into a public confrontation with Mayock, leading the Raiders to have serious discussions (and regrets) about his future with the team.
“Antonio Brown’s not in the building today; he won’t be practicing,” Mayock said on September 5th. “I don’t have any more information for you right now, and when I have some and it becomes appropriate, you guys all get it. I promise you. But that’s it for today.”
The next day, Brown issued an emotional apology to the organization; yet he wasn’t quite divested of his anger towards the Raiders, as evidenced by the Nike-like video he posted the next day in which he showcased his training and his family, overlaid to a private phone conversation between Gruden and Brown over his antics with the team.
On the 7th, Oakland fined him $215,000 and voided his $30 million in guaranteed money. In response, Brown asked for his release through social media, which they granted to him later that day. A few hours later, he signed with the Patriots and the world groaned as Brady added a new weapon to his already deadly arsenal.
Then the allegations of rape and sexual assault surfaced, and after one game with the team, the Pats decided to release Brown, ending a sad and bizarre six-month saga.
But his behavior remains both perplexing and frustrating.
Some have claimed that AB needs help or that he has symptoms of CTE, the latter which might be true but will take some time to prove. Others have suggested that he is simply exercising a strategy of digital thuggery and outlandish behavior as a means of getting what he wants. It’s one that has worked well for Trump, so maybe Brown decided to follow in his footsteps.
This theory carries merit based upon a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who said that Brown spoke with social media consultants, while with the Raiders, to help identify ways to get out of Oakland.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 8, 2019
Surprising, but if you’ve been paying attention, Brown’s behavior, while recently amplified, is something that has been simmering for a few years now.
During his time with the Steelers, he secretly live-streamed a locker room celebration, threatened an ESPN writer, sparred with his QB and skipped appointments. Brown then brought that attitude and behavior with him to Oakland.
And it’s this behavior that has hurt what should rightfully be a Hall of Fame career.
It has also affected his reputation and bank account, as his millions in guaranteed money has suffered a Thanos snap effect. As for the money he should be receiving from his brief time with New England? Don’t bet on him seeing those checks. Sunday’s Twitter tirade has given Kraft and the Pats all the reason they need to withhold those payments, even if it means fighting the NFLPA or the U.S. courts.
And they’ve got the deep pockets to do just that.
Who Wants The Headache?
In professional sports, it’s no longer a common sense thing to simply ask “who wants the headache?” because many teams are willing to absorb a headache if it comes with wins and success.
On Sunday morning, Brown tweeted that he “Will not be playing in the @NFL anymore”, leading many to speculate that he both played himself and played himself out of a job in the league. But based upon the number of chances given to others who have checkered pasts, his career might not be over yet. Some teams have reportedly been calling the league in regards to his legal situation and how it could impact them should they decide to sign him.
Will this strategy ultimately work for Brown, or will his Twitter meltdown actually be an example of how to play yourself in 280 characters or less?
Based upon his behavior with the Raiders, the accusations levied against him, his Twitter meltdown, the deletion of those Tweets and the pattern of behavior that has been brewing for years, it looks like AB becoming this AB will be costly to AB.