When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown, seemingly everybody is trying to figure out who is at fault. Is anybody to blame? Is everybody to blame? At this point it’s difficult to find anybody who hasn’t been connected in some way to the entire situation.
The latest connection made has been to Steelers President Art Rooney II, whose responsibility for the situation was discussed between Peter King on his podcast and his guest, reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala. The latter brought up Rooney in referencing a source within the organization who made a comment to her.
“That goes to the top of the organization”, she said of the circumstances that have allowed the situation with Brown to reach this point. “This is a very very, very high-level member of the Steelers organization. This is about as high as you can get”, she said of her contact. “He said to me, and this is an exact quote, ‘I don’t mean to get all Godfather on you, but the fish rots from the head’”.
In other words, Rooney could have stepped in at any point over the course of the last several years, going back at least to the Facebook Live incident and talked to Head Coach Mike Tomlin to order him to take greater control over the situation.
“So the implication there was, Art Rooney is one of the most admirable gentlemen in the NFL. He really, truly is a patient, prudent, moderate man. He is not prone to fits of impulse”, Kinkhabwala said. “He’s never going to do anything to embarrass the organization. But at some point, he’s the man in charge. At some point, this club is inextricably connected to his family name”.
But “at any point over the course of the past few years, he could have said enough. He’s the guy who oversees Mike Tomlin”, and he could have taken control of the situation on his own, if he so chose. The Rooney—even Dan Rooney, however—try to remain as hands-off in those matters as possible.
“I think a lot of these things have happened post-Dan Rooney”, King continued in picking up the same line of reasoning. “I think Dan Rooney was, both in the locker room and in the front office, and with the coaches, highly, highly respected in terms of—he didn’t really have to display a huge amount of discipline. People just knew that you don’t do this with the Steelers”.
“And again, I’m not faulting Art Rooney II now obviously because his dad died and he’s not his father or anything like that”, he continued. “But I think the death of Dan Rooney is a major factor in this”.
Kinkhabwala concurred, saying that “that’s not a minority opinion”, and one that she has heard from both inside and outside the organization.
Everybody will take this for whatever it is worth to them, of course, depending upon how much respect you might hold for either, or for the media in general. But it’s out there now for you to decide. Frankly, I expect many will agree.