Peter King did what Peter King does best and decided to stand up for the moral sanctity of a league institution: the NFL’s All-Pro team. The former Sports Illustrated columnist told Mike Florio on Friday’s Pro Football Talk Live that he couldn’t “in good conscience” keep Steelers wideout Antonio Brown on his ballot to the AP because of the reported incidents that led to the receiver’s absence in Pittsburgh’s Week 17 game against the Bengals.
Brown finished the year with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards while leading the league in receiving touchdowns with 15. Choosing other receivers over Brown because their statistical performances this season were better than his is one thing—and there were a couple candidates that fit that profile—but abusing an All-Pro ballot just so you can play disciplinarian in an attempt to teach a grown man some bullshit lesson about being a good teammate is beyond idiotic. Besides, where was this “good conscience” about off-the-field incidents when you chose to defend keeping then-accused serial rapist Darren Sharper on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot?
Sharper was sentenced to 20 years in prison for actual crimes! Brown missed out on a fucking game for reasons that might not even be his fault! But, who cares! In the eyes of King, the former deserved a chance to be enshrined as one of the greatest players to ever put on an NFL jersey, while the latter shouldn’t even be considered as a top-10 or 20 receiver.
One might be tempted to question where his priorities lie, but they are where they’ve always been: in the pockets of top-brass around the league. It’s no coincidence that this absurd mindset of Brown deserving punishment seems to be shared with the Steelers organization, who are reportedly going to listen to trades for their disgruntled superstar, according to Ian Rapoport.
Of course, another priority could be attention. King could have kept his amended ballot quiet, and nobody would have noticed Brown’s omission. Michael Thomas, who King replaced Brown with, led the league in receptions on a playoff-bound team and is in the top-10 in every major receiving category. Instead, King made his decision loud and clear to an audience, and, even if the grandstanding did come from a good place, he helped the subject of his disappointment gain a bit of moral high ground.
Good work, Peter.