Something rather odd occurred during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New York Jets game, where Antonio Brown pulled off his jersey and shoulder pads in the third quarter and threw up the peace sign as he walked toward the locker room.
Now I know you’re saying this is Antonio Brown, and odd seems to be part of the package with him over the past few years. But even this outburst of emotion was strange for him, at least in public. Brown is always described as a guy that loves football, despite his numerous attempts at torpedoing his own career.
I’m not absolving him of any wrongdoing because we know he’s brought all of the negative attention on himself. In the past several years, Brown has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women (he settled a civil lawsuit accusing him of forcible rape in April), and was caught on video verbally assaulting the mother of his children (in front of the children), while encouraging the police to “Slam her ass, slam her! Slam her!” in 2020.
Every time there’s a new story in the headlines on Brown, it feels like a guy who is screaming out for some kind of help, not to mention the help those who have been harmed by him likely need. Most recently, the fake covid vaccination cards only came to light due to him skipping out on paying someone who’d performed work for him in his house. And that wasn’t the first time we’d heard that kind of story about Brown.
Most of his indiscretions have been off the football field, which is what makes this one stand out so much. In sports, and especially on the professional level, the last thing anyone wants to be known as is a quitter, even as we all know that being labeled a rapist and an abuser are things athletes can easily survive, given enough talent. You just don’t see players leave in the middle of a game, especially when playing for a team that won a championship the previous season and could be in a position to win another.
This will undoubtedly be a story worth following as more information comes out over the next few days. We don’t know if this was goodbye forever or if Brown’s frustration just got the best of him at that moment. I do know that Antonio needs some type of help off the field, as do those in his orbit. Five years ago, Brown had such a promising career left ahead of him, and now we rarely talk about just his play on the field.