Pardon me if I indulge myself in yet one more article hinting at the fringes of The Antonio Brown Situation™, but the latest development is so dumb that I might hurt myself if I don’t talk about it. In what is the first meaningful defense yet that I have seen regarding the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver’s behavior toward JuJu Smith-Schuster in the past week, Marcellus Wiley just accused the latter of instigating the feud.
Why? Because after the Brown trade was made official, Smith-Schuster shared an image of himself captioned “I’m Ready”. Well, not simply because of that, but because of what the specific picture was. It was a photograph taken from the left of the goal post in the game against the Oakland Raiders.
The know the one. The touchdown one, with Brown in the background. The overthrown ball that Smith-Schuster did a fabulous job of knocking down and securing with both feet on the ground. That had to be overturned to a completion upon review.
This picture posted on the day AB gets traded was a sneaky, direct shot at him. That started this 💩between the 2 of them! Miss me with ‘it was a coincidence’…Players have 1000’s of pics to choose from, why that one? #dontstartnonewontbenone pic.twitter.com/C8vqanluYH
— Marcellus Wiley (@marcelluswiley) April 12, 2019
Wiley believes this is what actually set him off, even though—remember, folks—this literally happened after the trade was finalized. He wants you to believe that Brown had no beef with Smith-Schuster prior to that picture being posted.
We know that Brown has chosen to endorse this revision of history because he retweeted a video clip of Wiley positing the argument, also throwing in Smith-Schuster’s Tweet in which he stuck by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and called him a leader.
“Why do I think this is an issue in the shop? Because I’ve been there before”, he said. “I replaced Bruce Smith. And there was a day I could’ve been like, ‘yay!’. But you’ve got to be smart and sensitive knowing that you’re replacing a great unless you really want to take that shot. There is no coincidence that it’s all Oakland in that background. There is no coincidence that it’s Antonio Brown in the background. And there’s no coincidence of the date”.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) April 12, 2019
Of course it’s not a coincidence, you fool.
It was the greatest catch, to date, that he made in his career. And it’s a photograph. It’s not photoshopped. An image captures an actual moment of life. That is what happened in that moment. If Brown comes out looking bad in that moment, it’s because he actually looked bad. Smith-Schuster might have had longer receptions, but that was the most impressive play at the catch point that he has ever made.
And of course it happened on the day that it was confirmed that he would be the number one receiver. Why would he post about it before that? Or why should he wait? Does he have to mentally prepare himself to be ready for a few days?
And replacing a great? The argument becomes invalid when that great almost literally forced the team to trade him. They didn’t want to have to replace him. He left them with no choice. Whatever respect Smith-Schuster has shown to Brown, he hasn’t even deserved. Smith was released by the Buffalo Bills to save salary cap space.
Not that Smith-Schuster needs yet another defender in his corner, because Wiley seems to be standing on his own along with Brown—perhaps Brown and Wiley have some connection I’m unaware of—but this was just too ridiculous not to address in some form or fashion.
I’m not quite done, though.
Let’s assume that everything Smith-Schuster did was deliberate. Let’s say he defended Roethlisberger’s leadership directly and solely as a response to Brown’s criticisms of the quarterback. Let’s say that Smith-Schuster’s choice of image was deliberate and with the intent to take a shot at Brown.
Regardless of what Wiley says, even that wouldn’t justify what Brown said. That was a truly classless display of sportsmanship and an embarrassment to the notion of camaraderie. Not to mention a myopic recollection of how the final month and of half of the season—and that game itself—actually unfolded.
Now I’m done. And believe me or not, I hope this is the last time I address the aftermath of this absurd situation. I’ve been picking and choosing what I felt was worth discussing or deserved to be addressed in some way. If there’s nothing to discuss or address, I have nothing about the situation to write about. And I’ll be as happy about that as you are. But I’m not the sort of person that will allow such nonsense to stand unaddressed.