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The Many Layers of the Antonio Brown Saga

The Antonio Brown saga has gone on too long, and it’s time that we look at all the reasons he must be held accountable for his actions.> Antonio Brown by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Many Layers of the Antonio Brown Saga

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

If you’re a football fan, you’ve likely seen the latest in the Antonio Brown saga. If you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown…

During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets, one of the wildest things we’ve seen on an NFL field transpired. The Jets were leading 24-10. And Antonio Brown flat out quit on his team. He pulled off his pads and threw his undershirt into the crowd. He walked onto the field to get a reaction from the crowd, then disappeared down the tunnel. All while the game was still playing on.

I’ve seen a lot of talk about CTE and how that has affected AB. There’s also been talk about how he was getting frozen out of the game. This would prevent him from getting to numbers that would trigger up to $1 million in bonuses. And then there’s the fact that AB is simply not a good guy.

There’s a number of layers to this saga, and it’s important that we recognize all of them in order to understand the narrative.

Antonio Brown is an accused sexual abuser. He was accused of sexual assault two years ago, and at the end of this past summer, he and his victim settled. There’s a lot of conversation around AB’s on and off the field ‘antics’, but it cannot be overlooked that he assaulted another human and is somehow still able to be part of the NFL conversation.

He had also been known to not pay agents, assistants, and staff, and treat those people poorly. It’s as if he feels like everything he gets should be free. Antonio Brown acts like a petulant child over and over again, and yet we’re still allowing him to be part of the NFL conversation.

And since he still is part of the conversation, let’s look at how the scales may have finally tipped out of his favor.

It was in his own hands

This incident is being attributed to the Bucs freezing him out of the game in order to prevent AB’s incentives to accrue. If you subscribe to this bollocks, you’re not paying attention. Tom Brady was doing what he could to try to get AB involved in the game. He was targeted five times and pulled in three receptions. There was still more than a quarter to be played.

His team was down, and the coaching staff had an altercation with Brown, who refused to enter the game. Supposedly this was due to an injury to his ankle. But his hopping around the end zone before his exit makes me believe otherwise. He could have continued playing, gotten a handful more targets, and been set up in Week 18 to hit his bonus numbers. But, instead, he threw a hissy fit and left.

The CTE conversation

Sure, I have no doubt that CTE could have a role to play in the Antonio Brown saga. Truly. However, to point directly to that is short-sighted. There have been attitude issues for a long time, across all teams AB has played for. He forced his way out of Pittsburgh, refused to play for Oakland, was dropped by the Patriots after sexual assault allegations came to light, and straight up just quit on the Buccaneers.

While CTE is a likely piece of the puzzle, it is not the explanation as to why there has been continued reckless and dangerous behavior throughout the past decade.

Vaccination Card

Others who are defending AB and claiming the Bucs froze him out to avoid paying him are looking straight past one hugely important fact. Antonio Brown was suspended for three games by the NFL for falsifying a vaccination card. Had he not done this, he would have three more games under his belt and it’s highly likely he’d have hit all his incentive numbers.

Instead, he put his teammates at risk. He put opponents at risk. Anyone who has come in contact with Antonio Brown this year was put at risk because he pretended to be vaccinated. Frankly, falsifying the fact that he got a vaccine that helps fight against a modern-day plague is an egregious offense that should have resulted, in my opinion, in expulsion from the league.

But the NFL has been entirely too tolerant

AB is a repeat offender. And yet, the most important thing to the NFL is to get him on the field because he is in the realm of once in a generation talent. And that’s true. His skills are beyond what so many bring to the game. However it is unacceptable that he has received slap on the wrist after slap on the wrist, and is allowed to come back to play. We’re talking about a guy who has clearly never grown up, despite being 33 years old.

He has seen, repeatedly, that his actions won’t keep him from making money and won’t exile him from the game. And so he has never changed. Instead, his ego has grown to unhealthy levels, and he acts as though he’s untouchable.

And that’s why he walked off the field in New Jersey. It’s why he simply decides not to pay people who are doing him a service. That’s why he decides to dictate what he does and doesn’t want to do and feels like his individual is superior to his team. And it’s why he is accused to have thought nothing of sexually assaulting women.

It’s clear that there’s something wrong with Antonio Brown

It’s not up to me, or you, or anyone posting on Twitter to diagnose AB. Does it look like they guy needs mental health help? Yes. But maybe he’s also just a terrible person. His actions over the past ten years certainly point toward that being a real possibility.

I do hope that he played his last snaps in the NFL yesterday. Because the Antonio Brown saga has gone too far. And it’s time that he is held accountable for all of his actions.

That said, it’s more likely he won’t be brought back because of his age and decline in performance than for his egregious actions. And isn’t that just a sad state of affairs that we see in the NFL over and over again?


This also happened.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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