GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG
By JACOB RAMOS
“I’m here to elevate everything around me. I’m here to just be a surge of energy, of positivity, and good force; a great teammate [to bring] out the best of everyone around me cause we all know it’s not just about me,” stated Antonio Brown as he was officially introduced as an Oakland Raider.
Yet only five and a half months later, Brown had put himself out of a job, after one of the most spontaneous divorces in sports history. Fueled by his own indignation, selfishness and poor judgement, the former megastar quickly crashed and burned under the weight of the National Football League (NFL).
Leading one of the greatest and most mysterious “goose chases” of all time, Brown has undoubtedly redefined the term diva.
The saga began with an odd case of hypothermia. Not uncommonly, Brown stepped into a frigid cryotherapy chamber to relieve his muscle pain, only this time, without the proper footwear. For the most part, Brown continued in his daily regime, except now with an acute case of hypothermia. Little did Brown know, this minuscule adjustment to his normal routine would ultimately be the cause of his downfall.
Typically, even with an injury as irregular as hypothermia, the athlete and medical team of his or her team will oversee treatment and ensure said athlete recovers as soon as possible. But of course, Brown is anything, but your typical athlete.
Rather than properly addressing the situation, Brown instead took to social media: posting his blistered feet as “evidence” of his lack of medical attention from his team. From there, the athlete’s timetable easily became a toss-up, spurring multitudes of speculation and commentary from his devoted online following and sports talk shows.
Throughout the hypothermia fiasco, Brown missed all but one training camp practice in August, raising an early red flag to Oakland.
In spite of the original hiccup, Oakland faithfully continued to pursue the beginnings of a new season, led by their rejuvenated star player.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, Brown soon discovered yet another problem: his helmet. Out of nowhere, Brown filed multiple grievances against the NFL regarding his newly banned helmet, leading to several more missed practices and new organizational issues.
Once more, Brown proved to be volatile asset for the Raiders and after weeks of empty retirement threats, the receiver picked a legal helmet, and told the Raiders that he would show up to practice.
Except, he really did not show up to practice.
After being fined more than $54,000 for “conduct detrimental to the team,” Brown found refuge in social media once again, and voiced his discontent towards Raider’s general manager Mike Mayock.
Vehemently, Brown exclaimed, “When your own team [wants] to hate but there’s no stopping me…” via Instagram stories.
In the days following his virtual complaints, Brown continued his obscene behavior, calling Mayock a “cracker” and threatening him.
Despite all odds, Oakland’s coach Jon Gruden called Brown and attempted to salvage what simply could have been a rocky start. Unbeknownst to Gruden, Brown wiretapped the call and used the recording to expose the so-called desperate pleas from his hapless coach.
Contrary to his prior actions, Brown decidedly apologized to the team in a seemingly genuine attempt to turn over a new leaf with the Raiders.
But, in typical Antonio Brown fashion, Brown emphatically succeeded his apology by demanding his release from the team in an extensive Instagram post.
At this point, the Raiders truly had nothing more to hold on to and soon, Brown’s wishes were finally granted. Following his dismissal, Brown uploaded an obviously scripted video of him joyfully celebrating his release.
Less than a day later, Brown was recruited by the acclaimed New England Patriots.
Shortly after joining the team, Brown was accused of sexual misconduct. Despite the ongoing investigation, Brown continued to practice with the team, and as everyone attempted to put the rape allegations behind them. With a new team, a fresh start and a new mentality, what could possibly go wrong for Brown and the Patriots’ honeymoon?
Judging by the fact Brown is retired a week after his first game, a lot.
Sure enough, a second individual came forward and accused Brown of rape, plunging Brown further and further into the depths of conspiracy theories and NFL exile. Enough was enough, for both parties apparently, and with that, Brown received his second dismissal.
In context, Brown’s future in professional football lies in the NFL’s hands. Whether they or not they decide to let Brown succumb to the trials of law enforcement, the NFL’s credibility wavers.
From the beginning, Brown has been under fire from all angles in various instances, many of which being his own doing.
With a barrage of heated tweets, threats and sexual assault allegations against him, Brown is under fire from all angles, but does this warrant a ban or any other form of punishment from the NFL? From the league’s perspective, the powerhouse must handle their former best receiver carefully, as one wrong move may result in everlasting debates and lawsuits, combined with overall negative press.
The NFL jumping the gun and placing a lifetime ban on Brown will cause immediate uproar, and will not be received any nicer if Brown is proven innocent. Players, coaches and owners such as Brown must be given lifetime bans, although, if their allegations are proven true a court of law.
However the situation plays out for NFL fans, Antonio Brown, or his accusers, this tedious situation will live on forever in the NFL community as one of the most peculiar instances of a star flaming out, ever.