Should any of us be surprised at the nature of the latest Antonio Brown debacle?
I’m not even talking about his allegedly cryotherapy-frostbitten feet.
I’m talking about him pitching a fit and reportedly staying away from the Raiders in part because he’s mad that the NFL is forcing him to play with a new model of helmet.
Am I surprised it reached such a level this quickly in Oakland? Yes. I thought Brown would, at least, wait to flip out until his first regular-season drive without getting a target.
Am I surprised it’s over such a stupid thing as a league-mandated helmet? Yes. Somehow, the foot frostbite surprises me less.
But the genesis of the helmet issue is incredibly consistent with all of Brown’s problems in Pittsburgh.
Rules don't apply to him: He simply thinks rules don’t apply to him and that he should never have to follow them.
When he is pressed into doing so, he explodes.
Rules about showing up on time for practices, meetings and games.
Rules about blue cleats and end-zone celebrations.
Rules about streaming live out of the locker room.
Rules about the speed limit being under 100 mph on McKnight Road.
Or even the rules of gravity — remember the alleged furniture-throwing incident in Florida.
Now it’s rules about wearing a specific helmet.
Oh, and proper footwear in the cryotherapy chamber.
Raiders get what they signed up for: Enjoy, Oakland. This is exactly what you signed up for. Don’t complain or whine with buyer’s remorse.
So far, head coach Jon Gruden isn’t. Publicly, he’s defending his wide receiver.
Where have I heard that before? That looks like Gruden, but he sounds like Mike Tomlin double-talking around weekly Brown controversies.
Gruden says “support.” I hear “enable.”
Gruden says “not his fault.” I hear “shifting the blame.”
Instead of talking about why Brown isn’t there, Gruden chooses to shame the media for talking about him.
Sound familiar? If Gruden had worked in the phrases “we can’t control the headlines” or “elevator music outside the locker room,” I’d check to see if I clicked on the wrong link and went back to an old Tomlin news conference.
All the time I get people asking me, “Why do you still care about Brown? He’s gone. He’s playing somewhere else now.”
Yeah, exactly. He’s gone. And some other city has to deal with him now.
Pardon me if bask in the schadenfreude for a while.