Beyond The Scoreboard: The Curious Case of Antonio Brown


In his annual state-of-the-league news conference last Wednesday during Super Bowl week, Roger Goodell spoke on various topics from potential league expansion to cities outside of the U.S., to the lack of diversity in head coaching and higher-ranking executive positions. When asked for an update on former all-pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) emphasized “the first step” in answering that question concerns Brown’s health and not his playing status.

Goodell would go on to say, “We don’t talk about the wellness of our players publicly, but I can tell you that you can be sure that the NFL and NFLPA (Players Association) have tremendous amounts of resources available to all players. They are going to be made available to Antonio.”

Whether you like Goodell or not, his stance in prioritizing Brown’s well-being over a potential return to the league is valid. Brown’s behavior has been erratic since he was released by the New England Patriots back in September after being accused of sexual misconduct twice in a 10-day span. Brown would use social media in the months that followed to voice his displeasure toward the likes of Roger Goodell and personally campaign for the NFL to allow him back onto the field.

Then, in January, Brown was arrested in Hollywood, Florida and charged on counts of felony burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief. On Jan. 21, a disturbance call to officials was made by a moving-truck driver who alleged that Brown, along with his trainer Glenn Holt, assaulted him outside of Brown’s residence.

His path would cross with the Hollywood Police Department again when officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at Brown’s home between him and the mother of his children, Chelsie Kyriss. A video of the incident went viral, and you could hear Brown hurling obscenities towards Kyriss as she and Brown’s children were shown being escorted into a police vehicle. The children were visibly upset, but it did not stop Brown from continuing to go off on a profanity-laced tirade for his kids to hear. He would then turn his attention to the police officers themselves, screaming at them until they left his property.

Over the weekend, Brown sat down with ESPN’s Josina Anderson to show remorse for his recent actions. Brown told Anderson, “I think I owe the whole NFL an apology for my past behavior. I think I could have done a lot of things better.” Brown would also take to Instagram to issue official apologies to Kyriss and the Hollywood PD in hopes of repairing the self-inflicted damage caused to his public image.

Anderson used the interview opportunity with Brown to ask whether he thought he was suffering from any early symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), considering people from his former agent Drew Rosenhaus to former Steelers teammate and fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster expressed concern for Brown’s mental health.

Brown responded by saying, “If I had CTE, I wouldn’t be able to have this beautiful gym, I wouldn’t be able to be creative. I wouldn’t be able to communicate.”
Clearly, Brown is not well-versed in CTE or else he would find that symptoms like a diminished ability to make decisions and poor judgment and impulse control all fit into his behavior the last couple of years.

It led to him being traded from one of the most prestigious franchises in the Pittsburgh Steelers. It played a factor in his short stint with the Oakland Raiders, where he was released before even playing a regular season game. Now, his inability to make the right decisions and judgments are the primary reasons for his current unemployed status from the sport that he loves.

I want to be optimistic that this is finally going to be when Brown turns his life around, but then I see that he has recently agreed to a boxing match against YouTube star Logan Paul. If Brown were really focused on getting back on the gridiron, why would he entertain fighting a celebrity in a sport where he has no experience? Brown currently finds himself at the border of a vicious “wash, rinse, repeat” type of cycle.

Just when he apologizes and exclaims that he has turned a new leaf, he baffles and leaves us dumbfounded with a questionable decision like fighting in a boxing ring for money because he needs the financial gain and media attention. Where will this ultimately leave him? I do not know. And that is what should scare the man self-proclaimed “A.B.” the most.