No one on the Patriots wants to talk about Antonio Brown’s brief stay, which was cut short following a handful of reports detailing multiple sexual assault accusations. Bill Belichick has mostly dodged questions about the matter, and Tom Brady talked about how we live in a society. While it’s been reported that the texts Brown sent to one accuser “crossed the line” for the Patriots, they’re an organization with a core of powerful people, and some of those people had differing views on Brown’s future.
Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston published a column today that outlines some of the varying opinions within the Patriots. Brady told Robert Kraft he was “one million percent in,” and “went all-in trying to make it work” because he believed Brown was “reachable.” The quarterback was reportedly motivated by some “breathtaking” practices where Brown distinguished himself as someone “beyond anything Brady ever worked with.” Brady, Curran wrote bluntly, “disagrees with the business decision made by Robert Kraft to jettison Brown.”
Disagreement from Brady, who does not make personnel decisions, is one thing, but opposition from the head coach/de facto GM is another. Curran chose his words carefully, but he reported that the previous notion that the “unanimous decision” to release Brown was no open-and-shut case:
After more conversations this week, I’ve come to understand that unanimous decision wasn’t easily reached. Belichick accepted the decision and understood it. But he was by no means leading the charge to move on — and if Kraft hadn’t insisted, Brown would probably still be here.
In this paragraph, Belichick did not seem like someone who wanted to cut Brown:
Why, when asked, “What was the last straw?” did Belichick not at least mumble something to Dana Jacobson about the decision being what was best for the football team? Because he isn’t sold that it was the best thing for the football team. And the real answer, “Robert is the boss and the heat got too hot…” would have been less prudent than an icy stare.
Kraft is the owner, but he doesn’t often go above Belichick’s head on football decisions. Curran could not recall another time Kraft had pushed his weight around, though ESPN reported last year that the owner was behind the order to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The interesting nugget here is that the massage enthusiast stepped over his coach for PR reasons. So far it hasn’t affect the Patriots’ on-field performance; the team’s 3-0 and looks formidable without Brown anyway.