Schadenfreude is a real thing. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a German word whose literal translation of ‘harm-joy’ cuts close to its real meaning: pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.
It’s nothing to be proud about, to be sure, but as humans we ought to recognize that we are capable of deriving some type of satisfaction from the tribulations of those around us. Pittsburgh Steelers fans are feeling that in full force lately.
There is a report that the Oakland Raiders fear former Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant could be facing a suspension to start the 2018 season. The Steelers traded Bryant to the Raiders during the 2018 NFL Draft in exchange for a third-round draft pick.
One might be inclined to wonder, given this report, if the team was aware that this was a possibility. That is not the case, according to Jeremy Fowler, the team’s beat writer at ESPN, who Tweeted yesterday that they “didn’t know about this before [the] trade”. Ian Rapoport also added that “all was well” with Bryant when he “met at the NFL Offices in late April”, which was shortly before the draft.
The news of Bryant potentially facing a suspension should not be a shock to anybody. He has already been suspended twice over his four-year career, which included a full-year suspension that resulted in him losing an entire year of accrued experience. Had he not received that suspension, he would have been an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The Steelers struggled greatly without him on the field during the 2016 season, even though they managed to reach the AFC Championship game. With his return the following year, many were given to believe that their offense would be virtually impossible to stop.
But Bryant himself struggled last year, even losing his starting job in the second half of the season to rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was, of course, both Sammie Coates’ and his own replacement, in the long run.
It should probably be obvious that the Steelers were not aware of the possibility of Bryant facing another suspension prior to his being traded. I’m sure there would be some type of discipline if that were the case. The trade may not have even been approved in the first place. But it’s worth relaying all the same, since it has been a topic of discussion since the news came out two nights ago.
The Raiders were reportedly intrigued by Bryant for a couple of years already and really targeted him this offseason, continually upping their offer for him in trade until it reached a mid-third-round pick, at which point the Steelers decided that they were comfortable pulling the trigger.
They ended up parlaying that selection—along with a seventh-round pick—into quarterback Mason Rudolph, a player they believed was a first-round talent they were able to acquire in the third round, thanks to Bryant, who may miss games due to suspension for his new team, as he did for his former employer.