After the Steelers’ 18-16 playoff win versus the Kansas City Chiefs, there was plenty of reasons for the Steelers to celebrate. It’s how one player in particular chose to celebrate that had him being publicly reprimanded by the Head Coach and the Quarterback.
Antonio Brown, the Steelers’ star receiver and maybe the best receiver in the NFL, took it upon himself to go on his Facebook Live and record himself while Head Coach Mike Tomlin was giving a postgame speech.
Now, the reason why this is bad is because those times in the locker room are supposed to be sacred times for any team. These are times when teams come together before and after games, whether they have won or lost. These are times when the coach is able to rally his troops, inspire and fire them up for battle pregame, and galvanize or praise them postgame. Many times, this is a time where a lot of “foul” language comes out of the mouths of the coaches and players because this is any team’s safe haven.
Brown violated the atmosphere and allowed millions of people access to their safe haven by going on Facebook Live right in the middle of a passionate speech given by Tomlin. This was a speech directed at getting his team ready for the Patriots, a team he called “a**holes,” among other expletives that were used.
What makes this worse is that Tomlin also talked about how he wanted the team to lay low on social media and not say much to the media this week leading up to Sunday’s game. This is all while Brown is in the back of the locker room and on live social media. This act completely contradicted and disrespected the coach. Antonio was clearly not paying any attention to what Tomlin was saying and completely going against what he was saying in the process.
This was obviously a big headline, as social media is instant. Instead of the game being the headline, this was all that was talked about immediately after the game.
What this action also did was put Tomlin under some fire for the things that he was saying that weren’t meant for the public ear. Again, the locker room is a close knit atmosphere where everything that is said stays between the team, not broadcast to the world.
This resulted in Tomlin having to take a lot of time in his Monday press conference to address the situation and address it he did.
He called the incident “foolish,” “selfish,” “inconsiderate.” and that Brown will be punished “swiftly.”
All of these phrases correctly apply to Brown’s 15 minute live feed that over 900,000 people viewed.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also chimed in on how he felt about the situation:
“It’s an unfortunate situation that we’ve got to deal with right now,” Roethlisberger stated, “That’s a sacred place where things are said and hugs and tears, and it’s kind of a special place. So a little disappointed with AB for that. Coach talks and then I talk, and you just don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there with the family. And also, I wish AB would have been listening to Coach and myself instead of being on the other side of the locker room filming.”
These are the sentiments that many share in the wake of all of this. It’s understandable that Brown is a brand and that he needs to be on social media to build that brand, but there’s no excuse for doing that while you’re in the locker room with your team and more importantly, while your head coaching is talking. Nobody, no matter how talented you are or how valuable you are, is above that and above the team.
Whatever punishment will be handed to Brown will be forceful to an extent, knowing Tomlin, and also keeping in mind that they play a Conference Championship game on Sunday. So Brown will certainly pay, but he will still play, and that I agree with.
Brown’s brand and integrity have taken a major hit after the proceedings. Being publicly punished by your coach is enough for most players who now have to deal with that embarrassment. He’s someone who hasn’t been in really any trouble since he’s entered the league, and I’m sure this will be handled accordingly by the team. There’s no need to suspend him for this upcoming game on Sunday.
Do you think that Brown should still play in Sunday’s game despite his actions? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.