Antonio Brown wants us all to believe that he’s been cruelly mistreated and that the whole world is against him. In reality, the maelstrom that surrounds the enigmatic, supremely talented receiver is one Brown has created himself.
Brown’s social media posts going back to last year demonstrate that he truly believes he’s been persecuted and misunderstood. The latter is understandable, because quite honestly Brown’s behavior is hard to understand.
But after seeing the way Brown torpedoed his brand new start in Oakland the past few months, and then looking back at what transpired in Pittsburgh, it’s clear Brown has not been a victim.
Instead, he’s been his own worst enemy.
Just looking at what transpired since Brown landed in Oakland, it’s impossible to blame anyone within the Raiders organization for what happened.
- Brown’s freak cyrotherapy incident led to his feet being mangled, which resulted in him missing significant practice time.
- Then, the helmet saga, in which Brown abandoned his teammates for a full week and filed two grievances against the NFL — losing both.
- Brown publicly shares an official team letter from Mike Mayock in which he’s been informed of fines for missing practices and a walkthrough.
- Brown allegedly goes after Mayock at practice, upset by the fines, threatens to punch him and has to be held back by teammates.
- Raiders keep Brown out of practice and away from team facilities the next day.
- One day later, the Raiders welcome Brown back with open arms, sweeping all the previous stuff under the rug.
- Literally hours later, Brown shares a strange, highly produced video on YouTube in which he apparently recorded a previous conversation with Jon Gruden — potentially a crime in the State of California, by the way.
Then, the final straw early Saturday morning. Brown posted a message to his Instagram account in which he wrote “release me,” and railed against having to conform to the NFL’s system.
After that series of bizarre events, the Raiders released Brown on Saturday after voiding $29.125 million in guarantees and fining him $215,073.53.
It’s worth pointing out that the Raiders were well within their rights, too:
Let’s not forget for a second that Gruden had been Brown’s greatest advocate. Time and time again, he went to bat for this guy.
Yet time and time again, Gruden’s loyalty was treated with disdain by Brown.
If any of this seems like déjà vu, it should. The Steelers put up with a lot of crap from Brown over the years. Remember the Facebook live incident in Pittsburgh’s locker room, while Mike Tomlin was taking to his team? Or how about the way Brown abandoned his Steelers teammates last season, when they needed him the most?
There’s plenty more where that came from, too. When we look back, the trouble started early, even going all the way back to 2012 when Brown reportedly got into it with legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau right after landing his huge contract extension.
Brown has always had a huge chip on his shoulder. The best players do, and he certainly had reason for it after being selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan.
Yet Brown has long since taken a flying leap over the fine line that separates playing with an edge and going completely over it.
He’s not a victim.
If anything, Brown has been given more chances than most would in his position. If not for his legendary talent and work ethic, Brown would never have survived in Pittsburgh or Oakland as long as he did.
Certainly, he’s going to get another chance to play in the NFL, because of his talent and past production. But ultimately, nothing is going to change unless Brown finally stops looking at himself like a victim and embraces the fact that he’s brought all the negativity onto his own shoulders.