Antonio Brown’s social media followers have heard from the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver multiple times since the team’s season came to an end at the end of last year. The Pittsburgh Steelers…have not. That is the problem, and why the 30-year-old still doesn’t get it. Unless he does.
While Brown took to social media yesterday in a live video in which he seemingly thought that he was going to start to make things better, the main thing that he was able to accomplish was to show that he still doesn’t understand what it’s going to take to see a resolution to this situation.
Brown shouldn’t be talking to us. He should be talking to Mike Tomlin. He should be talking to Art Rooney II. He should be talking to Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward. These are the people who should be hearing from him, not his social media followers. It’s hard to tell if he’s doing this on purpose to send some type of message or if he just really is not understanding the way in which it all comes off to those on the outside looking in.
The thing is, he could be doing everything he has been doing and it would all be fine—as long as he was doing the other things that he should be doing, like being in communication with his peers, his superiors, and his employer.
If his goal is to be traded, then he is actually doing a good job. His insubordinate and childish behavior, giving everybody who matters the silent treatment, is exactly the sort of conduct that might actually force a team like the Steelers to acquiesce.
Even if it means it will ‘set a precedent’, a dreaded three-letter word that the Steelers more than pretty much any other organization strive to avoid doing. If they do end up trading him, they will do everything in their power to cast the situation in a different light.
But they have already given Brown different treatment, starting with giving him a big, long-term contract after his second season. While that is somewhat different because he was in the final year of his rookie deal, they also made an even bigger exception years later when they agreed to move up money on his deal for two years.
And of course that was only to retain another precedent.
But Brown has been an unprecedented player, both for the Steelers and for the league, in a number of different ways. Which is why he has been treated differently than most, and is partly the reason that we are where we are now.