by Matt Rosenthal ’22
Antonio Brown, the former diva wide receiver for the New England Patriots had an offseason to remember. As a result of his offseason actions, the Patriots made a horrible mistake signing him. They knew what mess they were getting into when Brown put the pen to the paper. His release was too little too late for the organization.
It started back in January when Brown demanded a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers because he was unhappy with JuJu Smith-Schuster becoming the number 1 receiver. On March 9th, Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for third and fifth round draft picks.
Just before training camp, Brown got frostbite on his feet from a cryotherapy machine. On the 9th of August, he filed a grievance for not being allowed to wear the outlawed helmet he had worn his whole career and threatened to retire if he could not continue wearing it. That grievance was denied and he filed another one ten days later, which was also denied. On September 4, Brown was fined a combination of $54,000 for unexcused absences and missing mandatory practices. He posted the letter from Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock on Instagram complaining about his fines. The following day at practice, Brown confronted Mayock using a racial slur, as well as threatening to hit him. Brown was fined $215,000 for the altercation, and the Raiders voided $30 million in guaranteed money. On September 7, he demanded his release from the Raiders.
Later that day, Brown committed to a one-year $15 million deal with a $9 million signing bonus with the New England Patriots. Four days after signing with the Patriots, Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, accused him of sexually assaulting and raping her. Taylor met with the NFL on Monday to discuss matters of the accusations. Shortly after Brown played his first game for the Patriots, a second sexual assault victim came out with allegations. Brown then threatened her through text messages. Most recently, a doctor Brown had visited said that he owed him $11,000 and farted in his face numerous times.
So why did arguably the best team in the NFL sign Brown when he has all this baggage? Brown is a threat to team chemistry since he only cares about himself and truly could care less about his teammates. All Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick cares about is a man who can play well, and he does not care what they are like off the field. For example, the Pats signed Josh Gordon last season, who has been suspended numerous times for substance abuse. Brown appears to be more of a distraction than Gordon, due to his shenanigans in the last 9 months. He ruined not one, but two organizations to a point where they can be suffering repercussions for the next couple of seasons. Why should anyone assume that he will not do it again? During the Patriots 43-0 win over the Dolphins on September 15, Brown had 4 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. This further shows that the Patriots do not care what a player has done prior to his arrival in Foxborough. All they want is a productive above average to elite receiver who can guide them their seventh Super Bowl win.
However, this tale does not end there. Coach Belichick left a press conference last week due to the number of Brown-related questions he was asked. On September 20, Brown was shown the door. He was released due to the sexual assault and rape allegations, along with the threatening text messages he sent to one of the accusers. Brown had just finished his tenure with his third team in the span of a year. This move was too little too late for the Patriots.
After his release, Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were looking at signing with some teams. Ultimately, Brown tweeted on Sunday that he was done with football for the time being. Or at least until another unethical team like the Patriots comes calling.