Controversy and Antonio Brown go together like peanut butter and jelly these days. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has been a lightning rod for attention, and he hasn’t done anything to keep a lower profile. That includes the hippo suit, even though the filming of that show occurred well in advance of the most recent fiasco.
Part of the controversy that followed, however, was the decision of the vast majority of All-Pro voters to either leave off or remove Brown from their ballots. Brown, if memory serves, received only two All-Pro votes after having made the All-Pro team every season since 2013. Tyreek Hill, among the second-team All-Pro wide receivers, had six votes.
The most high-profile voter is Peter King, who was very vocal and very public about his decision to remove Brown from his ballot, explaining that his behavior over the course of the final week of the season, which ultimately resulted in removing himself from playing availability, made the discussion a non-starter.
For some reason, the NFL Network thought it would be a good idea to have Deion Sanders hold a discussion with King about that, and if you watch the video of that exchange, you can probably notice the veteran reporter growing subtly annoyed while attempting to remain respectful of his host as he seemingly babbled nonsense.
As King discussed his reasoning for removing Brown from his ballot, he explained that it had largely to do with his unexcused absences from team activities during the final week of the season. “When you say AWOL, I don’t know if that’s accurate”, Sanders shot back.
“Was he told that he had the authority not to come or did he just do it?”, he asked. “See, I have facts that he was cleared not to come”. Really, Deion? Do you? “This is the first that I’ve heard, from you, that he had permission to not be at any of the events that week”, King fittingly responded.
Even being charitable and assuming that Sanders was referring exclusively to the practices in which Tomlin gave him time off due to a supposed knee injury, there were other things, including mandatory meetings and an MRI, that he was supposed to have attended but failed to. He obviously would not be excused from getting an MRI for a knee injury on the eve of a critical game.
Sanders’ answer wasn’t one at all. “See, a lot of people cover themselves in certain ways in our business, depending on who we choose to believe. I’m going to look at a track record of a guy who loves the game. I’m looking at a track record of a guy who I think only missed a few games in over the last several years and is a dog”, he said.
“Loves to practice, loves to play, and has no reason not to play, especially when everybody calls him a statistic freak, wouldn’t you want to enhance your statistics in that last particular game? So it don’t add up to me and I happens to know the guy”, he went on. “I’m just saying, your power and your influence goes a long way and I just wished some guys don’t allow the personal side of it to be involved in the football side of it”.
At no point did he give any further elaboration or clarification regarding the “facts” that he has about Brown being excused. Nor did he have any explanation for why his excused absences led to him not playing.