As you no doubt have heard from every talking head in the biz by now, Antonio Brown was a bit naughty on social media after last Sunday’s 18-16 win over the Chiefs.
Brown took to Facebook Live to give fans a look inside the Steelers’ locker room after the win, and cued us all into a fired up Coach Tomlin laying into the Patriots with some choice words the policies of this website will not allow me to repeat in full.
Brown was heavily criticized for breaking the sanctity of the locker room, a place many consider a place where what is said does not leave. For what it’s worth, Brown has since apologized for his mistake, but Tomlin has not let it slide, promising punishment in addition to a possible violation of the NFL’s social media policy.
Full disclosure: I am not (shocker) a professional athlete. I’m the guy who writes about sports because he isn’t good enough to play them. Tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about all you like, but I say Brown should be given a break.
Nothing incredibly salacious or strategically important was compromised, nor will it be in the future, as Brown has learned from his mistake, and I can’t imagine it will be repeated by anyone else.
Everyone could have guessed Mike Tomlin doesn’t care for the Patriots. Brown could have been more sensitive to locker room culture, but he was not being reckless. If anything of import to this week’s game was being discussed, he’d have put his phone away.
Antonio Brown is a smart guy. You don’t get to be a guy who runs complex routes for a living if you’re stupid enough to put compromising information in the public realm. I don’t care about the optics of Tomlin’s words, he was just saying what we’re all thinking.
Calling the Patriots “a——s” is not compromising information, it’s a statement that people in 44 states heartily raise their beers to.
Tomlin is right to punish him, and I’m sure Brown will accept it, as he clearly shows remorse for his actions. But give him a break after that, because there are bigger fish to fry right now.
This isn’t bulletin board material for the Patriots, they already know Tomlin speaks for the other 31 teams in the league with what he says, and I imagine they almost relish it.
Since the concept of locker-room-as-sanctuary applies to both coaches and players, perhaps Tomlin would be wise to let the rest of the team in on the decision of how to punish Brown for his misstep.
They aren’t going to go overboard, as Brown isn’t a LeGarrette Blount-esque locker room cancer, he’s never been a problem before, and he’s publicly admitted he messed up.
Besides, who better to punish a football player than other football players, who have been through the gauntlet from coaches?
Really, the worst consequence of all this is Bill Belichick has been gifted another chance to show how curmudgeonly he is, insisting he doesn’t know anything about “InstaFace” or any other social networks. At times I almost have to respect Belichick for his wry sense of humor, and sometimes I just groan. They can’t all be zingers, Bill.