In case you haven’t heard, Antonio Brown did something never before seen in an NFL game this past Sunday. In the middle of a pivotal game against the New York Jets, Brown took off his pads, threw his undershirt and gloves into the stands, and promptly ran across the field bare-chested giving the fans a “Peace Out” sign as he left MetLife Stadium.
This is just the latest in a long line of idiotic moves by Brown, and every time Brown pulls another one of these stupid, public stunts the same tired narrative gets thrown out there by people on Twitter: “Geez, that hit Brown took from Vontaze Burfict in 2016 really messed him up.”
These are just a few of the “Vontaze Burfict” takes that circulated Twitter after Brown’s mid-game antics, and frankly...I’m tired of it. Super tired of it. Antonio Brown has always been a headcase. His issues have existed since long before he slandered JuJu Smith-Schuster on Twitter, and long before he was knocked out by Burfict. Brown has been difficult since before he even stepped foot on a college football field. Hell, even before he played a snap of high school football.
When Brown was first accused of sexual assault and rape in 2019, Brown’s stepfather, Larry Moss Jr., who helped raise Brown between the ages of 5 and 17, went on record stating that he was “surprised that it took them this long to figure him out. Because he’s been this way since he’s been 12 years old.’’ In the piece by USA Today, Moss continued stating that he’d always known Brown was abusive towards women, and that Brown “just feels like he can have whatever he wants. So it doesn’t surprise me that this kind of allegation came out about him.” Moss knew this about Brown since before he was a teenager, but sure, we, the fans, know better than the man who raised him.
In high school, the only football scholarship Brown received out of high school was to Florida International University. Did Brown accept this opportunity to turn his life around and become a better person? No. Brown got into an altercation with a security guard at the university before he ever took the field for the Golden Panthers. How bad was the altercation? Well, bad enough for the school to expel him. When school officials informed Brown of their decision to expel him, they told him “We’re going to say you were never here.”
Even after this, Brown continued to be troublesome for coaches and college football programs that gave him a chance. Per reports, even after being given a chance to be a walk-on at Central Michigan University by Zach Azzanni, currently the wide receivers coach for the Denver Broncos, Brown would repeatedly show up late to practices and meetings. He’s clearly had an issue with discipline well before he was in the NFL.
Several NFL draft scouts labeled Brown’s biggest concerns as his character, prima donna attitude, lack of work ethic, and constant lapses in concentration. That sounds an awful lot like the Antonio Brown we see today. The only difference is that Brown now has the platform to publicly broadcast his stupidity and lapses in concentration. When Brown was being labeled the “best receiver in the NFL”, he didn’t need to act out to get the attention he so craves, but after Smith-Schuster was labeled team MVP by his Steelers’ teammates...that’s when Brown realized he was starting to fall off and needed some way to remind everyone he still exists.
Obviously, this is all just speculation. I’m not Brown’s therapist. I’m not a character consultant or anything of the sort. I don’t know much of anything on the subject. However, I do know that blaming Burfict, AKA the guy who tried to stop Brown from attacking Raiders’ GM Mike Mayock, for Brown’s attitude nowadays is blatantly false.
Let’s not forget that CTE is caused by “REPEATED blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion,” not one singular blow. Obviously, Burfict was not the cleanest player. You don’t need to be a genius to realize that. However, these jokes blaming Burfict for whatever mental illness Brown is suffering from, whether it be CTE or something else entirely, miss the point. It’s time to stop.