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NFL: Antonio Brown

Football

The GIST: After Sunday’s dramatic mid-game departure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released wide receiver Antonio Brown (AB) yesterday. But there’s much more to this story than meets the eye.

January 07, 2022
SOURCE: BLEACHER REPORT/TWITTER
SOURCE: BLEACHER REPORT/TWITTER

The GIST: After Sunday’s dramatic mid-game departure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released wide receiver Antonio Brown (AB) yesterday. But there’s much more to this story than meets the eye.

The latest: Details have emerged in the aftermath of the seven-time Pro Bowler’s outburst, as both AB and Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians shared their respective sides of the story. On Wednesday, AB released a lengthy statement via his lawyer, with the biggest revelation being that Brown was playing through an ankle injury.

  • AB said he removed himself from Sunday’s game because of the pain and that the Bucs tried to force him to play through it. Arians claims he was unaware of the injury.
  • Shortly thereafter, AB busted out his Twitter fingers, sharing texts allegedly between himself and Arians, along with messages calling out Alex Guerrero (Bucs quarterback Tom Brady’s trainer). Okay, receipts.

The context: It’s important to consider this situation with AB’s troubling history in mind. He was benched for a reported outburst during his 2018 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and, in 2019, he was released by the then–Oakland Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team.

  • Off the field, multiple women have accused Brown of sexual assault. Plus, just last month he was suspended three games for providing a fake vaccination card to the NFL. In short, he’s not exactly the picture of credibility.

Zooming out: That said, it’s clear AB needs both physical and mental support. His allegations against Arians should be investigated, especially within a league that expects its athletes to play through injury.

  • We can hold Brown accountable for his past while still acknowledging the complexity of this latest scandal. As always, holding space for nuance is critical.