Yesterday brought us the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown finally spoke to the media. As though we don’t see him enough on the field and in commercials—and on Facebook live videos—but, of course, the latter reason is why yesterday’s press conference was a big deal.
We know what happened and we reported on what he said, so there’s no need to belabor the point, but there is one thing that I want to talk about here that struck me. At one point during his answers to reporters about his sin of posting a live video onto Facebook, he brought us into his emotional state at the time.
“I was genuinely excited in that moment”, he said. “I just got carried away in the moment. I live with that moment from last year, not being able to play in the Divisional game, not being able to make the trip with the team, so I was a little bit genuinely excited in that moment”.
Maybe it was just me, but it seems to me in my admittedly passive analysis of the coverage of Brown’s comments, that this part of his answer was pretty well glossed over, and yet I find it to be the most salient thing that he said all day.
I, as I’m sure most of you did, watched the video that Brown posted on Facebook, and I saw his facial expressions throughout the video. What I saw more often than not was somebody who was practically in a state of euphoric delirium. I don’t doubt that he was more than a bit caught up in the moment, and not entirely thinking clearly or paying attention to his surroundings.
After all, it has been a long road for Brown, and the entire team, to get to where they are now. The Steelers were in the Super Bowl during his rookie season, but back then, he was a bit player. Since then, up until last year, they had not even won a playoff game.
And Brown probably doesn’t even have any recollection of how that playoff win from last season happened, because he was concussed on a vicious blow to the head the play before the game-winning field goal.
The year after the Steelers played in the Super Bowl, Brown began his ascent, playing a bigger and bigger role every year. That first year, however, they went one-and-done as a wildcard team, and then missed the playoffs for the next two years.
Pittsburgh won their division in 2014, but, again, went one-and-done in the playoffs. They barely scraped together a win last season that Brown didn’t even finish. He wasn’t even able to travel with his teammates to Denver. Now he is back in the AFC Championship game as an integral member of the unit, having taken this long journey between trips to help him appreciate just what it means.
Does that mean that he doesn’t have some growing up to do still? Does that excuse his actions? No, not by any means. But I do think it’s something worth keeping in mind. I hardly think that he was just being an inconsiderate, entitled little fool.
We now return you to your previously-scheduled programming, as this should be the last word from us on this nonsense.