Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ latest bout of drama with one of their superstar players is simply the fact that, barring the emergence of some sort of video evidence, we may never know what actually happened. There was an alleged incident between Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger during a pre-practice Wednesday walkthrough that set the wide receiver off, but different reporters have cited different accounts from different sources.
In one event, Brown threw a football. In another, Roethlisberger threw a football. Either way, the majority consensus seems to be that there is some dissatisfaction in the locker room over how it was handled, and that that also stems from a longer pattern of management.
One interesting and unusual report that we have seen, that we haven’t yet addressed on this site, was one from Colin Dunlap. On Friday, he shared on Twitter that he was told by one player that it would have resulted in a “mutiny” if Head Coach Mike Tomlin allowed Brown to play on Sunday after he abandoned the team.
I was told by a Steelers player yesterday it would have been “mutiny” if Antonio Brown had dressed for Sunday’s game and a bad scene. So much so “we were mad enough at him someone would have forcibly taken his pads off him and stopped him from going out there.”
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) January 4, 2019
“We were mad enough at him someone would have forcibly taken his pads off him and stopped him from going out there”, Dunlap quoted this anonymous player as saying. Now, that certainly sounds like quite a bit of hyperbole to me, but if this is indeed a legitimate quote from a player, then it does speak to dissatisfaction with his behavior among his teammates.
Of course, we already know that that is the case. Tomlin stopped just short of saying that he quit on the team on Wednesday. Cameron Heyward called his behavior unacceptable. There have been other anonymous accounts of players—who don’t get all the attention—being tired of having to clean up after him with the coaches not stepping in.
From the sounds of it, Brown and everybody else seemingly did expect the wide receiver to play, at least assuming that he was healthy. it appears that many legitimately did not know whether or not he legitimately had an injury—frankly, we still don’t know—but they knew ‘something was up’.
Would there have been a scene if he did dress? And would we have known about it? I’m guessing not to the former, but we probably would have heard about it if something did happen. Brown also skipped a mandatory meeting the week before going AWOL, so it’s likely this specific incident stemmed from an ongoing matter.
Dunlap himself has made his opinion on the matter pretty clear and has stated that the team has to get rid of Brown, so he may not be fairly regarded as the most objective source. I simply find myself curious what more we will find out through trickling media reports about what really went down over the course of the past week and a half.