Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown made a mistake. It was silly and harmless, nothing that he should be a permanent mark on his football resume. He got caught up in the moment of winning a playoff game, turned on his cell phone and broadcast video from the Steelers’ locker room. The video caught coach Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech, in which he didn’t give away any state secrets. In the grand scheme of things, what damage did it cause? That it violated the NFL’s social media policy rule that no fan cares about?
But this became a four-day story, and counting. On Wednesday evening, in front of a packed Steelers media room, one of the best players in the NFL answered serious question after serious question about something that isn’t a serious issue. He didn’t commit a crime. He got caught up in an exciting moment and do what plenty of people his age and younger like to do: He wanted to share his excitement on social media.
|Antonio Brown met with the media to discuss his Facebook Live video. (AP)|
He answered media questions on Wednesday about it for 12 minutes. It was broadcast live on NFL Network. His news conference seemed like a form of punishment.
Brown didn’t have any excitement in his voice and rarely smiled. He talked about regretting causing a distraction and any disrespect shown to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
“We’re not all perfect. I’m human. I’m going to make mistakes,” Brown said. “As a man, I’m going to own up to those mistakes. I was genuinely excited in that moment.”
Again, it’s over a Facebook Live video shot because he was excited to win a playoff game.
He was asked if he felt he let down Tomlin, and what the conversation was like, like he was a child. He was asked if Ben Roethlisberger was disappointed with him, which is weird too. It felt like he was on trial, over something that might be comparable to a parking citation. And probably not as serious as a parking citation.
Brown is one of the best receivers in the NFL, who worked his way up from a tough upbringing in the Miami area, made a name for himself at Central Michigan and then became a star despite being drafted in the sixth round. He has tremendous charisma and is rightfully one of the most popular players in the league among fans. And a few days before the biggest game of his professional career, he was shamed for a Facebook Live video, having to explain to everyone that he wasn’t a bad person.
It was an odd ritual.
“I think people know what I stand for, what I represent and what type of person I am,” Brown said.
At one point Brown tried to steer the conversation to that AFC championship game against the New England Patriots.
“I’m just excited for championship football,” Brown said. “We had a great [day] of practice today. I’m excited to get off to a great start, and my teammates are excited about this opportunity.”
When he was done with that answer, he was asked about the conversations with Tomlin and Roethlisberger.
Brown tried to explain the circumstances. Last year in a divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos, he was out with a concussion. The Steelers lost that game, and it was hard for him to not travel with his teammates and play. It felt great for him to play in a divisional playoff game Sunday night and contribute to his team’s win. That should be understandable to anyone.
“I was just caught up in the moment, genuine excitement, and wanted to give the fans a hands-on experience,” Brown said.
But he talked about how all week he has seen the criticism of him, even from some former teammates and NFL players.
“I take ownership of all my actions,” Brown said. “I’ll be better from this.”
Brown, in his excitement over winning an NFL playoff game, shot a social media video and didn’t think it through before he broadcast it. That’s all.