For as much fun as JuJu Smith-Schuster might have had making videos on TikTok, he’s not having any now, and it’s his opponents who are having the last laugh. That is the risk that you put upon yourself when you volunteer material that could potentially be seen as inflammatory, regardless of what your intentions might be.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has taken a lot of heat over the course of the past couple of months stemming from his social media posts featuring himself dancing at center field on top of the team logos of the stadiums in which he was set to play, with a number of players, including those from teams they didn’t even face, mocking him for it and calling it disrespectful.
It was fine when they were winning, but he really became the source of derision when he was blown up by Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell, causing him to fumble, and Pittsburgh dropping the game to what was a rather bad team playing their third-string quarterback.
More recently, he made headlines by declining essentially to give the 2020 Cleveland Browns team credit for taking steps out of the shadows of their former failures, saying that “the Browns is the Browns”. These Browns took that as disrespect—just ask them—and it became a slogan they would repeat throughout the week—and perhaps now for some time.
Both Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield referenced the comment in pre-game social media posts, and a number of players poked fun at Smith-Schuster after the Steelers’ loss to the same old Browns. Mayfield invoked the phrase as he came out of the field.
— Armani Taylor (Alex) (@Tall_inc) January 11, 2021
The Browns are having a blast in the locker room 🔊
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2021
Jarvis Landry was the harshest, captured on video mimicking Smith-Schuster’s dance that he has done a number of times to a popular song. At the end of the video, he also uses some derogatory language toward the fourth-year veteran.
— BlitzburghUSAVideos (@sdextrasmedia) January 11, 2021
“You don’t want to be disrespectful to anybody on any team, so we definitely didn’t appreciate it”, Garrett, who once smashed an opponent over the head with the man’s own helmet, said after the game. “And I think we made that known tonight with our performance… and getting this big win we got in their house”.
Myles Garrett on JuJu’s #TheBrownsIsTheBrowns:
“You don’t want to be disrespectful to anybody on any team, so we definitely didn’t appreciate it. And I think we made that known tonight with our performance… and getting this big win we got in their house.”
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) January 11, 2021
This is, of course, the same team that just last year featured a head coach that wore a t-shirt that said ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ in reference to the incident involving Garrett striking Mason Rudolph in the head, which drew the single largest single-incident suspension in league history for an on-field event.
“We don’t really have to talk about it, but I’d like to ask him the same question, what do you think now?”, running back Kareem Hunt, who was certainly a handful, asked after the game. Smith-Schuster, of course, said that he doesn’t regret what he said, and hopes that they go out next week and do the same thing to the Kansas City Chiefs that they did to his team.
Browns RB Kareem Hunt asked if he thinks JuJu Smith-Schuster might rethink what he said earlier this week: “I want to ask him the same question right now. We don’t really have to talk about it, but I’d like to ask him the same question, what do you think now?”
— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) January 11, 2021