Antonio Brown: Once a Role Model, now the NFL’s Biggest Headache


Abigail Hetmanski, Senior Staff Writer

Most would say that wide receiver Antonio Brown has been nothing but trouble and has certainly fallen short of  NFL expectations. The downhill spiral of Antonio Brown’s career intensified on March 10, 2019 when the Pittsburgh Steelers sent him to Oakland for two draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Before his trade to the Raiders, which he wanted, Antonio Brown was a 7x Pro Bowl player with a recorded 11,263 receiving yards and 75 receiving touchdowns. Spending nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was a fan favorite by many. Kids of all ages looked up to him as a role model in and out of the football universe. Off the field, Brown made sure he showed the 412 area code how much he cared for the world outside of football. He did a lot of charity work, ranging from helping kids have school supplies for the new school year to donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In the final years of his Steeler career, Brown’s  relationship with Ben Rothlisberger, the Steelers quarterback, worsened. To top it off, he had been to one Super Bowl (2010) and didn’t even leave the stadium holding the Lombardi Trophy. “As a Pittsburgh sports fan, I’m glad he’s not our problem anymore. I truly hope that he takes this time to self-reflect, quits blaming others and own up to his actions,” states Hubbard native, Missy Hetmanski. At the end of the 2018 season, Brown wanted to leave the Pittsburgh area to obtain a Super Bowl ring in a “ better team environment.” 

Fast forward to July of 2019, where Brown flew into practice in a hot air balloon, but couldn’t practice due to frostbite from a cryotherapy chamber. On July 30, Brown left practice early after being given the news that he was not allowed to wear the helmet he had been using since it was longer certified by the league. Fast forward to September 4-7,  when Brown posted a private letter from Raiders General Manager, Mike Mayock, stating that he owes $54,000 in fines for not showing up to training camp. Even with an apology, Brown paid $215,000 in fines for detrimental. 

The Oakland Raiders released him because of the drama he has caused and he got picked up by the New England Patriots. News of Antonio Brown sexually assaulting his personal trainer in 2017 and 2018 surfaced, leading to Brown’s only 14 day Patriot stint. “It’s sad to see that potentially one of the greatest receivers in the league is letting his own career go based off of his own mindset and mentality,”  remarked HHS senior, Jaydan Gavalier. “He isn’t playing the game for his team or to win anymore. He is only playing the game for his money and for himself. As a Patriots fan, I was obviously upset that we let him go, but it’s understandable, because he acts too childish and immature. Skills in the sport don’t always give you a free pass to do want you want.” 

The scandals concerning Antonio Brown still continue with his Twitter announcement that he is done playing in the NFL: “Will not be playing in the @NFL anymore; these owners can cancel deals do whatever they want at anytime we will see if the @NFLPA hold them accountable sad they can just void guarantees anytime going on 40m 2 months will see if they pay up!” Again his blame game continues, and the real loser is not Brown, but all the younger fans who looked up to him as an accomplished athlete and role model.

From being one of the most beloved players in the NFL to the biggest headache in pop culture, Antonio Brown continues to utterly destroy his reputation–and in that arena, he is truly accomplished.