Like it or not, Antonio Brown is going to be dominating the news cycle for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the next good while. And because we are a website that covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, we are going to cover the most relevant bits of information that we can glean from that news cycle. We would be derelict in our duties if we turned a blind eye toward all of it, even if it can grow wearisome even more for ourselves, who have to take the time to digest, analyze, and write about it, than for those of you who comment that you’re tired of reading about it.
One person in particular who has become a fixture in the Antonio Brown news cycle is former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who has now made several appearances on a variety of ESPN outlets over the course of the past week and a half specifically to discuss his own experiences with the wide receiver and the organization.
Brown injected himself into the Ryan Clark discussion after he took to Instagram to respond to a video of Clark giving an interview about him, referring to the retired safety as an ‘Uncle Tom’. Dave Bryan talked about some of the discussion Clark had yesterday, but he also was asked to respond to Brown’s remark.
“I don’t have a problem with that”, he said in response to Brown choosing to use a term that has been synonymous with being a collaborator with the oppressor against your people within the African American community.
“I think in doing this job, being an African American, and being a former black player, I’m supposed to support everything that’s black”, Clark went on. “The moment you don’t, the moment you call a spade a spade, the moment you have an unbiased [opinion]. The moment you do those things, it now comes into a situation that you’re wrong. You’re not supporting. You’re selling out. I’ve got the Tweets. You’re dancing for ‘massa’”.
When he was asked for further clarification about his reaction specifically to Brown directing that remark at him, he was more pointed. “This is harsher than anything I probably could have Tweeted. I don’t necessarily think he thought about it. I’ve said on this show many times, I believe he’s extremely self-centered, extremely selfish, a narcissist to a point”, he said.
“I don’t think he thought about me. I think he watched it, he saw the interview, and his thought was, this is just how I feel. It wasn’t necessarily ‘I want to insult Ryan’, it wasn’t necessarily ‘his words affected me in a certain way’, it was just ‘Ryan said something I don’t agree with, and so here is my answer’”, Clark went on. “It wasn’t a very well thought out response. It wasn’t a very well thought out comment, which is why I didn’t respond to it and deal with it in that manner”.
Earlier in the segment, Clark made is explicitly clear that he still speaks with several players in the locker room—likely those who were there when he still was, like Cameron Heyward, Vince Williams, Maurkice Pouncey, and Ramon Foster.
While he certainly has some of his own personal history with Brown to take into consideration when weighing his words, much of the wide receiver’s behavior speaks for itself. His current teammates are not going to call him out too strongly, but a former teammate can.