Waking up to the details of the Antonio Brown trade to the Oakland Raiders, I wanted to see how people would receive the trade. For a third and fifth rounder, the Raiders made out well. Granted, no one expects the Pittsburgh faithful to jump for joy surrounding this entire situation. As a result, their escalating sodium levels actually make sense. While humorous, since Oakland fans waved goodbye to Khalil Mack six months earlier, they can relate. Yet, what stands out most is the vitriol directed towards Brown by the media. Now, this is no defense of Brown’s handling of the situation, more of an examination of the detractors.
Antonio Brown enjoyed a productive on-field career in Pittsburgh. Six straight 100- catch, 1200-yard season bear witness to his greatness. On the other hand, Brown’s relationship with the organization and his quarterback suffered. Through some fault of his own, those relationships broke. No one leaves the Brown situation unscathed and blameless. Yet, many in the media chose a side long ago, which remains baffling.
In a tweet earlier this morning, analyst Ross Tucker chided Brown for “quitting on his teammates”. If you listen to Brown explain his side of the last game of 2018, he tells a vastly different story. Next, Tucker displayed highly erratic behavior. Posting on Instagram and Twitter doesn’t seem like erratic. While most can construe it as annoying, erratic feels like a stretch. Furthermore, Tucker, via tweet, laments the Brown trade as a poor lesson for the children. Whose children? Mentioning kids during a discussion about a football trade feels unnecessary and inappropriate. If Tucker wants to explain anything to children, why not discuss Ben Roethlisberger’s incidents in Reno and Georgia. See how that discussion rapidly degenerates. Owners are caught in compromising positions and the media laughs, Brown plays his hand well, and now we must talk to the kids.
Antonio Brown quit on his teammates & exhibited highly erratic behavior and as a result got a $20M raise with $30M guaranteed.
Great lesson for all the kids out there. pic.twitter.com/kMLBpIqgDb
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) March 10, 2019
Cash over Rings
Philadelphia radio host ventured to call Antonio Brown a loser for apparently choosing money over winning. The Steelers employed Brown for nine seasons. In all honesty, the fact the Patriots routinely embarrass them is not on him. Eskin uses the tired trope of “championships are the only important aspect” in sports. At the end of the day, football is a job. Players are employees that provide an elite service. In return, they should command the most compensation for the skillset. Yet, Eskin’s tweet feels misplaced and angry. At last glance, America remains a capitalist society. Antonio Brown capitalized. While winning a championship is a lofty goal, it may not be in the cards for every player. Plus, outside of selling the ring, how does it pay bills or provide for your family?
I always thought the desire of any athlete was to win. The competition and euphoria of winning a championship. @AB84 is nothing but a loser. You may gotten some guaranteed money for your ego but never will you see the biggest prize in Oakland .. A Super Bowl. Loser! https://t.co/YQacLnwfU0
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) March 10, 2019
Granted, everyone knows that Skip Bayless parlayed a stellar writing career into a hot take cash machine, spewing nonsense for millions. To the surprise of no one, Bayless tweeted about the trade. Bayless said he’d choose Amari Cooper over Antonio Brown. In all fairness, Cooper is younger and cheaper. Yet, Bayless chose the “Cooper makes plays while Brown makes waves” tact. Before, we engage in anything petty, let’s stick to the facts. Amari Cooper caught 278 passes for 3,908 yards and 25 touchdowns, during his four-year career. In just the last two seasons, Brown tallied 205 catches for 2,830 and 24 scores. Looks like Brown makes plays AND waves.
I’ll take Amari Cooper over Antonio Brown any day. Amari just makes plays, not waves.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 10, 2019
With many in the media choosing to line up and take their shots at Brown, it does beg the question of why. The above mentioned three media members enjoy very successful and lucrative careers in their chosen fields. Skip Bayless joined Fox Sports for what he perceived as a better deal. Presumably, neither Tucker nor Eskin work for free and vigorously fight for better contracts. So, why deride a football player doing the same thing? To hear/read certain media members, you’d swear that Antonio Brown robbed a bank, mistreated puppies or assaulted the elderly. In actuality, he spoke out his situation. Ironically, the media usually loves quotable athletes, except when it comes to money.
In reality, Antonio Brown will suit up for the Oakland Raiders. Media types cannot change that. You will hear many complain about a player forcing their way out of a situation. Carson Palmer retired to escape the Bengals. Ask yourself why that was not as big of a deal as Antonio Brown forcing the Steelers’ hand. Media creates perception, right, wrong, or indifferent. Brown will either succeed or fail in Oakland. Something tells me that many on TV and radio would prefer the latter.
With the furor over Brown’s antics, some in media forgot incidents regarding his Steelers’ teammates.
Whether you like Antonio Brown or not, you must admit that many are forgiving his former quarterback for egregious behavior off the field.
As Brown embarks on the new chapter in his career, he probably knows the deck is stacked against him in the court of public opinion. yet, with the Raiders , he could be ready to overcome obstacles. Someone once said, “If you understand me, you know that I live for challenges”. Actually, that was Skip Bayless when he started at Fox Sports 1. Now, if many media members afforded Antonio Brown the same courtesy remains to be seen.