Antonio Brown is finally going to speak for himself a little bit later today, but up until now, it has been his teammates and coaches who have been speaking for the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver since Sunday following the team’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Brown had just 67 yards in the game.
First up was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been with the 30-year-old wide receiver for as long as anybody else has. And nobody has probably worked with him as much, considering that they have the fourth-most pass connections between any quarterback and pass catcher in NFL history.
Roethlisberger said of social media use—for which Brown got in trouble—that you should just not do it to avoid “trolls or whatever, people who just sit behind their computer in mom’s basement or whatever you are trying to bait you into saying things”.
He acknowledged that he talked to Brown, saying that he “just talked to him, told him to stay with us. He’s not the only guy that gets frustrated in games. We all get frustrated. When you’re the best in the world, you might get a little more frustrated than others”.
Calling his teammate “a very passionate football player”, Roethlisberger said that it’s just that that makes him special and drives him to be great. “I’m not going to want to take that away from him”.
This is the comment argument that is made about great athletes who exhibit behavior that might be referred to as rude, to put it mildly. Their conduct is merely an extension of the same inner drive that enables them to do what they do in their profession. And there is surely some truth to that, but it’s never an excuse for poor conduct.
“When you’re the best in the world, you want to participate, you want to win football games. We’re all frustrated that we’re not winning right now”, he said when he was asked about the source of Brown’s frustrations.
“When he gets frustrated in games, just tell him to stay with me, talk to me, communicate with me, let me know if I missed you on something, if there is a way you are getting open and I didn’t see it. Let’s just talk and communicate and he does a great job of doing that”.
This isn’t anything that is new to us, of course. We have seen him lose his temper on the sidelines when the team is losing and he isn’t getting the ball. Heath Miller once had to tell Brown to “shut the **** up”, by the receiver’s own admission.
So what is different about this time? Well, he’s never skipped a meeting before—at least to the best of my knowledge—for one thing, and the team has since disciplined him for that. The locker room certainly is not making a big deal out of the entire situation. And frankly, neither should the fans.