Antonio Brown has finally broken his silence after the disrobe-gate meltdown at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus New York Jets game on Sunday.
In a statement from Brown, via his attorney, Brown insisted that the exchange had been spun to make him look bad and that the Bucs were forcing him to play injured.
Statement from Antonio Brown via his attorney @seanburstyn: pic.twitter.com/pJ3VGFBjSy
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2022
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,” Brown said in a lengthy statement on Wednesday night.
“Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it all for my team.”
Brown took an MRI on Monday that revealed broken bone fragments, a ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, the receiver revealed in the statement.
How Antonio Brown doing the Bucs pic.twitter.com/sWyeCE4HUV
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) January 6, 2022
Now Brown is flipping the script on the narrative that he has mental health issues to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being insensitive and irrational to his injury level.
“I took a seat on the sideline, and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘It’s my ankle.’ But he knew that. It was well-documented and we had discussed it,” said Brown in the statement.
“He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.”
Bucs coaching staff to Antonio Brown… pic.twitter.com/5pujeSKCn1
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 6, 2022
Then Brown went on the offensive by ingratiating himself to the fans, his teammates, and the public while exposing his version of the story, which paints the lack of empathy by the Buccaneers coaching staff.
“First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to the Bucs, fans, and my teammates. The Bucs helped me return to productive football after I had difficulties that could have ended my career. We worked together to resolve those difficulties, and I will always appreciate that. Being part of a Super Bowl champion team and then a contender is a dream come true.
“I make mistakes. I’m working on myself, and I have positive influences around me. But one thing I don’t do is shy away from playing hard on the field. No one can accuse me of not giving it my all every play.
“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out. Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their ‘spin.’ Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate.
“Not only did he know I missed several games with the injury, he and I exchanged texts days before the game where he clearly acknowledged my injury. He obviously knew I was on the injury list. And the GM acknowledged after the game in text messages to my camp that I did tell coach about my ankle pain on Sunday.”
Tom Brady shared his thoughts after former teammate Antonio Brown left the field early during Sunday's game. pic.twitter.com/jEHMkLEEO6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 3, 2022
Brown went further to address the Jets game and leaving his teammates on the field.
“I know we were losing to the Jets, and that was frustrating for all of us. But I could not make football plays on that ankle. Yes, I walked off the field. But there’s a major difference between launching from the line and taking hits, compared to jogging off the field with a rush of emotions going through your mind. I am reflecting on my reaction, but there was a trigger. The trigger was someone telling me that I’m not allowed to feel pain. I acknowledge my past. But my past does not make me a second-class citizen. My past does not forfeit my right to be heard when I am in pain.”
The other glaring issue is that Brown is still a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although head coach Bruce Arians proclaimed he was not, Brown has not officially received his walking papers. That can affect his ability to play for another team in the short term.
Bruce Arians says he asked Antonio Brown to enter the game multiple times, but he refused and left the field, per @JayGlazer
“Never seen anything like it in all my years.” – Arians pic.twitter.com/Jyk99T0P3j
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 2, 2022
“First they cut me. Now they cage me. Instead of asking how I felt or getting to the bottom of it, the team texted my camp, promoting a totally false narrative that I randomly acted out without any explanation. They even told us in writing ‘don’t spin this’ any other way.
“I have stress, I have things I need to work on. But the worst part of this has been the Bucs’ repeated effort to portray this as a random outburst. They are telling people that first I walked off, then I was cut. No. No. No. I was cut first and then I went home. They threw me out like an animal and I refused to wear their brand on my body, so I took my jersey off.”
“Did you try to make Antonio Brown play with an injury?”
Bruce Arians: pic.twitter.com/elI86DomEA
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) January 3, 2022
However, Brown expressed his love for his team and the Buccaneers fans and pointed the mental health mirror back at the Buccaneers for what he is amounting to a show of artificial sympathy.
“I love the Bucs fans. I really do. I love my teammates and everyone who showed me grace and believed in me. I gave the Bucs everything I had on the field. What the organization is doing now needs to get cleaned up. I do not understand how people publicly claiming to be concerned about my mental health can do these things to me in private.
“Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100% and looking forward to next season. Business gonna be BOOMIN!”
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