‘AB’ Drama & Lessons Learned

Antonio Brown’s great talent was evident from the moment he entered the NFL. Coming from Central Michigan University, Brown was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. He had played his entire career with the Steelers, until this very 2019 season, his tenth in the NFL, when he was traded to the Raiders. Antonio Brown is undoubtedly a top wide receiver, comparable only with the best of the best. His achievements with the Steelers include having been a Pro-Bowl contender seven times, as well as been given the “All-Pro” title four times. Brown’s success is obvious, and one can only have high expectations for such a figure who is both loved by the public and has the skill to drive his career further. When the 2018 season, Antonio’s final season with the Steelers, was coming to an end, foolish and unprofessional actions caused him to be traded, and eventually, he plunged his career down the drain.

After a growing tension with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a heated dispute with Ben Roethlisberger, the team’s quarterback, Antonio left practice dramatically. He did not attend the following  practice, and was sidelined in their upcoming game. The Steelers were done with his drama, and traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for their third and fifth round draft pick. Why such a low demand for such a highly valued player? Because of the liability that came along with him. Yes, Antonio is one of the best receivers in the league, but does this fully make up for his unprofessional manner of approaching situations, and its effect on the team?

Consequently, Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders in the beginning of the 2019 offseason. The Raiders, unlike most other teams in the NFL, were willing to work with the immature player and attempt to build his humility. Their journey took off, and Antonio seemed to be fitting in at the team’s training camp. This amicability was short-lived, as everything from this point on led to the end of his career. Antonio Brown, otherwise known as “AB,” went to see a foot specialist, where he was diagnosed with severe frostbite after entering a cryotherapy chamber without the proper footwear. The images are grotesque. In his final stages of recovery, the NFL alerted Brown that his old helmet was outdated and that he was no longer permitted to use it. Antonio clearly felt he had a reason to protest, as he filed two grievances and threatened to retire. All this drama caused lots of accumulated absences from training camp, and the Oakland Raiders were not pleased. Mike Mayock, the general manager for the Raiders, sent Brown a letter, where he alerted him that the team had the right to fine him for his unexcused absences. Antonio, as childish as he is, posted a picture of the letter on social media. This eventually led to their heated verbal altercation where Antonio allegedly called Mayock a “cracker,” and had to be held back by his teammates after threatening to hit Mayock in the face. Antonio gave a sincere apology to the entire team, but this did not mean much to the Raiders. He was fined $219,000, and had guarantees cut from his contract. However, Brown refused to accept the consequences for his actions, as he subsequently asked for his release via social media. The scandal with the Oakland Raiders came to an end when the team granted his request and released him. 

A few hours later, Antonio Brown was signed by the New England Patriots, and boarded a plane headed to Foxborough. Before he had the chance to step onto the field, Brown was accused of sexual assault on three occasions by his former trainer. He denied the allegations, and delayed the process enough to allow him to play one game with the Patriots. However, he did not last any longer, as he was then released by the Patriots as well. Antonio Brown is now inactive in the NFL and is dealing with his sexual assault allegations. It is yet to know whether Brown will return to the NFL, but things are not looking good. Antonio’s foolish actions do not just show what an unprofessional and childish person he is, but they teach his fanatics a crucial lesson.

Antonio was loved by most of the young population, and was an idol to many people. To see one’s idol get their career stripped from them in a matter of months teaches us about our pride, and that fame is not untouchable.

One of the major lessons the public has learned from this incident is that people cannot allow their egos to get the best of them and cause them to escalate a situation which is already headed in the wrong direction. Alan Wainer, a Scheck Hillel sophomore, states that “I once loved Antonio, but his actions seem to come from the pride which he is incapable of swallowing. He is used to being the best, and acts like everyone is a puppet that he can control.” Here, Alan states that Brown could not admit to his mistakes due to his elevated ego, and that this propels him to patronize others, including those superior to him. He was unable to correct his wrongs, but rather supported his wrongs heavily. 

Not just this, but Brown is also a perfect example for adolescents to realize that fame can go as easily as it comes. Antonio was one of the most prestiged Wide Receivers in the NFL, and through his childish and unbecoming actions, had it all stripped away in a few months. The Jon Gruden incident is a perfect portrayal of such a situation. Brown, in the midst of an argument, calls his General Manager a “cracker,” and threatens him physically. This is something that no true professional should do, under absolutely no circumstances. A sophomore at Scheck Hillel, Jacob Singer, says that “Antonio flushed his career down the drain through foolish actions that one would only expect from a child. He does not know how to manage his anger, and does many things without thinking. He is a truly dishonorable athlete, whose fame disappeared in an instant.” This claim portrays how most students learned, through observation, that nobody is untouchable. No matter how good one is, a lack of both humility and professionalism can overshadow talent. 

Antonio Brown went through an elaborate trajectory when the 2018 season came to an end. His failure to set his pride aside and act intelligently caused him to lose all he had. In the process, Brown taught students that nobody, no matter how powerful, has full control over anything. Nobody’s importance can stop the world from moving on; rather it is necessary to adapt to some inconveniences, set one’s ego aside, and not fight relentlessly over the little things.

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