There is nothing that fans love more than when a former team great becomes a member of the media and makes criticisms about his former team, especially when it directly involves a current player that he recently played with.
That was intended to be sarcasm, but of course I’m sure we all know that there is actually a not insignificant number of fans who actually do like when that happens. So perhaps for them, they were pleasantly surprised to hear former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward tell a CBS Radio host that he was “a little embarrassed” by Antonio Brown’s conduct in recent weeks.
Brown has had multiple incidents recently on social media, calling out reporters covering the team, or his personal life, in ways that he objected to. He also was shown extensively on the sideline of last week’s game steaming with coaches in ways that, to an outside party, did not paint him in a positive light.
With the transcription coming courtesy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Ward said of this recent string of events that it was embarrassing “in the sense that that’s not the Steelers’ culture. We’re not real big on having off-field issues with a lot of different guys”, he said.
In the current generation’s defense, players of prior eras never had to deal with the social media aspect of being a public figure—didn’t grow up with social media being a given part of their lives. And that includes Ward, now 42 years old. Facebook was really only rising to prominence when I was entering college over a dozen years ago, as he was about to play in a Super Bowl.
He said of Brown, “I understand he’s a passionate guy and he wants to win more than anybody in the world. But in this case I kind of think he’s wrong for the outburst. When things aren’t going good, a lot of people look at your leaders on the team, the players and the guys who are doing it, they want to see how you react to adversity”.
Ward said that it’s not something that he would have done in a similar situation. Brown yelled at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, though both parties wrote off the incident later on in the week. The two share a relationship that goes back to Brown’s high school days when Fichtner was attempting to recruit him as a college coach.