The Cleveland Browns generated some controversy with the selection of Caleb Brantley in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Brantley has some potentially serious legal problems looming relating to a domestic violence case.
As the team opened its rookie minicamp, Brantley didn’t address the issue. But he did talk about how its motivated him.
“I ain’t going to say I did hear all the stuff that was said about me, but there’s definitely a chip on my shoulder,” he said, per ESPN’s Pat McManamon. “I’m just going to go out and prove everybody wrong who said bad things about me, said I have character issues and all of that. But … I ain’t really worried about it. I’m just ready to move on.”
The incident, which you can read about here, was an ugly one. Brantley was charged and reportedly turned down a chance to settle with his alleged victim.
You can read into that however you’d like.
With that said, the phrasing does not come off well. While there are no rules on when the phrase can be used, the chip on the shoulder usually applies to on-field stuff.
Players develop chips on their shoulders when teams pass them up, or let them go. They develop chips on their shoulders when they feel they’re not being given enough credit. Sure, Brantley was passed on in the draft. But his lack of on-field skills weren’t what cause his stock to plummet.
Now, it’s worth noting that Brantley has yet to be convicted. That leaves the possibility that he may be being wrongly accused. But if that’s the case, this issue goes well beyond a chip on his shoulder.
If he’s not being wrongly accused, then he needs to be more remorseful. Of course, the legalities have yet to play out and he doesn’t want to to say anything to incriminate himself. But if he’s really guilty, this isn’t the issue to be defiant on. This matter is far too serious. Brantley’s comments didn’t reflect that. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do much good for someone looking to prove that his character isn’t a concern.