Antonio Brown needs to learn to lay off of social media when he feels compelled to respond to a critic, or a critical comment. He has nothing to gain from it beyond a short-lived satisfaction that comes from believing that you successfully defended yourself.
Beyond that, I am entirely okay with what the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver wrote yesterday in response to Ryan Scarpino, a former team employee who stated that Brown would not be nearly the receiver that he was were it not for Ben Roethlisberger playing at quarterback for the entirety of his career.
I’m sure you’ve seen the Tweet already, or at least read about it, so I don’t need to restate it here. The long and short of his response to Scarpino was that he could prove his greatness as independent of Roethlisberger if he were traded to another team, confident that he would continue to perform at a high level in another system with another player throwing passes to him.
The only issue with what he actually said is that there’s simply no long-term benefit to him saying it. What he ultimately accomplished was to draw negative attention to himself and his team, and with neither Brown nor Roethlisberger available for media sessions today, it fell on to his teammates, once again, to have to answer questions about him and what he says off the field.
Was he wrong to tell a reporter who wrote a story about his off-field dramas that he will ‘see what his jaw is like’ as a response? And was he wrong to say it? Yes to both. Was he wrong to call Ed Bouchette a racist after the veteran reporter Tweeted that he saw him limping? Yes.
Brown called Bouchette a clown before calling him a racist to his face. I defended the wide receiver for the clown remark, arguing that perhaps the reporter ought to be more reserved in his Twitter comments amid practice, after Mike Tomlin later confirmed that his missed time in practice was pre-planned and not the result of the aggravation of an injury, as the ‘limp’ Tweet would imply.
But it’s still not something he should have said, just because, again, the only thing that it offers is a temporary personal satisfaction. The same as in his ‘expertalism’ interview in which he implied that he believes he is doing God’s work by being an excellent wide receiver. Or when he complained about media attention immediately after arriving in training camp in a helicopter.
The truth is that he’s not wrong in many of the things that he’s said, and frankly he’s never been more right before than in yesterday’s comment, defending his abilities as independent. He was right about him not having a lot of privacy, and of having limited freedom to express himself.
But it’s not like he didn’t already know that. It’s not like it’s not readily apparent as a part of the package deal of being a celebrated athlete. It’s due time for his actions to mimick his words. If he knows that he has to restrain his behavior, then he ought to. Even when he’s technically right.
And for the love of god, I sincerely hope that no Steelers fan actually thinks he’s looking to be traded. The only ‘drama’ here is that some teammates had to be asked a few questions about it.