Brown to frown: An NFL star’s journey to demise


All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Antonio Brown suits up in a Buccaneers jersey and verbally screams at a referee.

Alex Hunter, Copy Editor

Antonio Brown, an NFL star known for his dramatic outbreaks and publicity stunts, exemplified true loss of face as he ripped off his pads, jersey and reputation on Jan. 2, 2022, in the Buccaneers games against the Jets. Will he ever play in the league again? 

As Brown left the playing field, many thought this would be his last game, but considering the media’s role in the glorification of sports stars, this is unlikely. 

For years, the media has blown over disgraceful actions by NFL superstars by making memes or jokes about them. This is exemplified by Kareem Hunt brutally kicking a woman, Marshawn Lynch wrecklessly driving and, now, Brown’s raging scandal mid-game. 

For any regular employee of the workforce, all of these things would most likely be cataclysmic for their careers, but football players are constantly given second chances despite their resumes being flooded with criminal charges and bad reputations. 

While the majority of bosses would be furious with the actions of such an employee, Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians brushed off the incident regarding Brown’s sudden and disrespectful exit of the franchise in an article. “It was very hard, I wish him well. I hope if he needs help, he gets some. It’s very hard because I do care about him.” He said in a press conference following the game.

Brown is well-known for his dramatic behavior: faking his vaccination card, throwing patio furniture off of his 14-story apartment (nearly hitting a child), and making the opposite of amends with teammates and managers; he does not seem to know his limits. What is to blame for his lack of maturity?

Several heavy blows to the head of Brown have led many to believe his repulsive actions could be a direct result of severe brain damage. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been one of few assumed brain conditions Brown could have suffered during his 12-year career in the league. Whether or not a brain injury is to blame, the mere ignorance of both the league and the media in response to his foolishness is obvious. 

In a New York Times article during Brown’s signing with the Bucs in 2020, Arians explained his lack of transparency and respect for legal mistakes Brown makes. “He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play,” he said. 

This statement demonstrates the absence of morals in the NFL as players continue getting away with scandalous actions and are offered second chances. Although the players offer talent athletically, their ethical representation to both their fanbase and the league is arguably more important. 

Just as workers make money showing up on time and doing their job with a high level of respect, professional football players should be expected to do the same.

Senior Barrett Lindmark described his perspective on Brown’s tirade. “I think it is hard to judge what all goes on with players in the NFL especially because the media can only cover so much,” he said. “But what Brown did, despite the situation, was uncalled for and unprofessional for a grown man to do.”

Brown and other NFL players deserve equitable treatment in the workforce and should be held responsible for their impulsive actions and disrespectful attitudes towards the football community. Time will only tell what happens with Brown and whether or not he gets signed to another team. If he does, it will be yet another example of the incompetence of the NFL.