A week ago, The Undefeated reporter Jesse Washington published an article about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown that he had been working on for some time, which sought to explore the man behind the bright and positive Instagram account. Brown did not take kindly to it, threatening the reporter via Twitter.
Though he deleted that Tweet within hours, the issue had been glossed over through the season opener and beyond until a reporter asked Head Coach Mike Tomlin about it on Tuesday during his weekly pre-game press conference. He dismissed it as so much nonsense, seeming to draw a distinction between things said ‘on the internet’ and things said ‘in real life’.
I’m not sure what might have transpired between now and then, but yesterday, nearly a week after telling the reporter that “we gone see what your jaw like”, the wide receiver chose to issue an apology to through the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I made a mistake in judgment with my tweet last week, and I apologize for that. It is not OK to threaten anyone and I need to be better spiritually and professionally”, Brown said in his statement. “Though I do not agree with the negative parts of the story about my personal life, I need to have better control over my actions to use social media as a way to engage with my fans, rather than use it improperly”.
And that, frankly, is all that needed to be done. You cannot, as a very well-known celebrity and professional, threaten violence against a reporter who covers you for a living. It’s not criminal, but it at least deserves an acknowledgement, which Tomlin unfortunately decided against on Tuesday.
According to Joe Starkey, it is unclear if Brown apologized directly to Washington in a separate statement, but he said that a spokesman informed him that the apology was relayed to the ESPN employee. In a separate article, Starkey also included a statement from Art Rooney II making clear that the organization does not condone Brown’s actions:
“It is never OK for any employee of the Steelers organization – player, coach or front office staff – to threaten a member of the media or anyone else for that matter. I appreciate that Antonio is apologizing for his inappropriate comments”.
And that is about as much as I want to talk about Brown outside of football for the rest of the season, quite frankly. I cover what I believe is appropriate, and Tomlin’s dismissal of the situation made it something I felt obligated to cover, but this closes the book as far as I’m concerned.
On the field, Brown caught nine passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, which came on a spectacular 22-yard back-shoulder catch at the front right corner of the end zone. It was not his best all-around game by any means, but he is held to such high standards that even his mediocre performances right well above the average.