Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown has been living in the headlines so far this offseason for all the wrong reasons that are not necessarily related to football.
It’s not a secret that tension between Brown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the front office has been steadily brewing for months dating back to the team’s drama filled 2018 season.
The wideout that is arguably the most dominant in the game has been perhaps the most demonstrative factor on not just the deterioration of his own reputation around the league as well as in the eye of the public for what can be perceived as a “Me first mentality”.
He’s taken to social media on several occasions to fire back via twitter at critics, analyst and former teammates for calling his character and maturity into question in interviews with several media outlets.
He recently posted a farewell to the city of Pittsburgh and Steelers fans everywhere, thanking them for supporting him through the first nine years of his career, but that it is essentially time for new beginnings. In the post he had a highlight reel of some of his best plays from last season with song “Do what I want” by rapper Lil Uzi Vert playing in the background.
For those of you not familiar with the hit song here’s a small excerpt from the lyrics. “Now I do what I want, now I do what I want. Everybody know I’m better, yeah. Yeah I’m better, yeah. It don’t matter, ay, pocket fatter, aye. Nowadays I’m on my haters they got sadder, aye. That’s money longer. Different song but. Different producer”
The underlying message from this song reverberates and reinforces the selfish narrative that has been associated with Brown this offseason as he has called out his coaches, his quarterback, the front office and publicly requested from the organization that drafted him.
He even took to social media to ask football fans where they think he should land as if he were an unrestricted free agent. However, the fact of the matter is that Brown is still under contract with the Steelers through the 2021 season and his cap hit of 22.2 million is the highest of all receivers this upcoming season.
He’s was also recently involved in a domestic dispute with the mother of one of his children where no arrests were made but there are reports of a physical altercation had taken place. With the heightened sense that the league shows in regards to domestic violence after year’s of botched handling of discipline with players involved, an investigation has been launched.
He even sat down with Steelers owner Art Rooney II at his Florida home last month so that the two could sit down, clear the air and possibly come to a resolution on how to rectify the fractured relationship between Brown and several members of the organization.
Following their meeting Brown took to social media once again to post a nine-minute-long Instagram live video in which he sounded off on the conversation he had with Rooney and delivered a clear message that any possible suitors for his services must meet his monetary and situational demands.
He stated throughout the video that he would not play under a contract that didn’t feature any guaranteed money and that he would no longer play himself in service of any NFL franchise.
He can post all the highlight videos, self-promotional, twitter clap backs, Instagram live streams and Q&As with fans all he wants but he does not get to decide where he will land or if he will depart Pittsburgh at all since the Steelers control his contract rights and can either decide to cut ties with the star of trade him to a team of THEIR choosing not his.
The NFL is not the NBA, where a player can often force their organization into trading them to a destination of their choosing, Anthony Davis’ recent failed trade aside. No amount of poking and prodding via social media or public trade request is going to make an NFL franchise force their hand into doing what’s best for a disruptive player over the needs of the organization’s bottom line, winning and contending for championships. It seems the only party that is getting played here is Antonio Brown by Antonio Brown.