The Antonio Brown Controversy


Antonio Brown takes off his equipment and throws it into the stands as he runs off the field in a game against the New York Jets

Humberto Trevino

Antonio Brown, most recently a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has always been an amazing football player but there’s always been something that makes him a bad teammate.

I am not an avid watcher of the NFL but I’ve always seen Antonio Brown’s name come up in the news or on the radio and for not all the right reasons. Despite this, it’s amazing to see how far Brown has risen. Brown started playing in high school in Miami and then moved to play college football at Central Michigan University where he earned All American Honors in 2008 and 2009.

During Brown’s first season with the Steelers, the team advanced to Super Bowl XLV but lost to the Green Bay Packers. He finished his rookie season with 16 receptions for 167 yards in ten games. During his second NFL season, he became the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving and returning in the same year.

In 2013, he became the only receiver in NFL history to record five receptions and at least 50 yards in every single game of an NFL season. Although his on-the-field productivity continued over the next several seasons, including leading the league in receptions and receiving yards in 2014, receptions in 2015, receiving yards in 2017, and receiving touchdowns in 2018, Brown’s relationship with his Steelers teammates turned bad and he eventually requested a trade.

In 2019, Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders,  making him the highest-paid receiver in the league. However, his time in Oakland was short-lived, and following several off-the-field incidents, including a confrontation with the general manager, the team released Brown without him ever playing a regular-season game with the team.

In September 2019, The Patriots hired him and then released him one week later. Eventually, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him before the NFL suspended him for eight games before the regular season for multiple violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He was penalized because of a dispute with a moving company employee, for which he pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges and received two years probation. Brown was also penalized for sending threatening texts to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Before Brown joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first thing the head coach said was that he would not be giving Brown the benefit of doubt. Head coach Bruce Arians was quoted saying, “He screws up one time — he’s gone.” However, in December of 2021, he was suspended for three games for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status. A review conducted by the NFL and the NFL Players Association concluded that Brown and two other players had acquired fake vaccination cards.

He was allowed to play after the three-game suspension, but during his last game against the New York Jets in January, Brown took off all his gear, threw most of it into the stands, and walked off the field in the middle of the game.

Due to all of this controversy, it will be so hard for another team to find a reason to recruit Brown, despite his skill. This is especially the case after this recent situation, in which he showed just how selfish he is. Brown’s football career is almost definitely finished after his walking out on the Buccaneers. All the hard work he’s put in, the constant training, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; all that’s thrown away due to his own behavior.

Ultimately, it goes to show that you can be a talented and amazing person but still have an awful personality. Being a good teammate goes just as far as being a good player. When you receive an opportunity that not every person can have (and have to put in a ton of work to get it), be someone to look up to. In the end, many kids and athletes that once looked up to Brown have likely lost their hero.