Lamar Jackson, you don’t want to go down this road. There’s nothing at the end of it but disappointment. Stay far away from any road that leads to Antonio Brown.
Brown sat down with Brandon Marshall and Chad Johnson on the new-look I AM ATHLETE podcast. Small clips had been released from the episode, including one where Brown denies having any mental health issues. The full episode was released on Monday, and in it Brown was asked what quarterback he would like to play alongside. His answer was Jackson, and that clip was released on social media. Jackson quote-tweeted it with a demon emoji.
Poor emoji choice. The wink or the thinking face are more appropriate, if he wants to entertain the idea of Antonio Brown coming to the Baltimore Ravens. The demon emoji implies that Jackson is open to more than the idea of Brown as a teammate, but also the embracing of doing something that others might think is risqué. Championing Brown in any way is problematic, but his improprieties and indecencies — ranging from not paying for services to allegations of sexual assault — should not be humored with an emoji.
Also, this is a moment where Jackson should be thankful that he plays for a stable organization. The Ravens could use some help at wide receiver, but there is a reason they have won two Super Bowls and made the playoffs 13 times since the turn of the millennium, including every season in which Jackson has been healthy. They have good leadership that runs the organization in a competent way that demands respect. All of that would be put in jeopardy if the Ravens brought in Brown, which is why there is not much of a chance this will happen.
Brown has pretty much walked off while on the clock at three of his last four jobs. With the Steelers he didn’t show up for practice the week of the most important game of the season in 2018 and was benched. In 2019, he never took the field for the then Oakland Raiders, demanding his release before Week 1 following a summer of controversy. In Tampa, after playing two half-seasons for the Bucs, he got into an altercation with coach Bruce Arians after not wanting to enter a game that resulted in Brown stripping down to his football pants and his eventual release from the Buccaneers.
The idea of Brown is not only something the Ravens should refuse to even think about, they need to, if they haven’t already, talk to Jackson about the people that he publicly chooses to champion. It’s bad enough that he has openly supported Kodak Black to the point where he attended the rapper’s April 2021 hearing that included a guilty plea to assault and battery after originally being charged with criminal sexual conduct. As bad of a look as that is, at least Jackson’s support can be somewhat explained by the fact they’re from the same hometown and near the same age.
Lamar, a lot of us out here are rooting for you. You’re an exciting player that has taken some unwarranted criticism throughout your career, and it’s charming when you say, “thank you, Ms. Lisa,” after your Monday Night Football postgame interviews with Lisa Salters. However, you’re unvaxxed, which cost you time on the field and likely a playoff berth for the Ravens this season, and here you are publicly engaging in the idea of bringing in a menace with some horrid off-the-field accusations. We don’t want to stop rooting for you, but you’re making it hard.