Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown probably meant no harm when he turned on his phone in the locker room after Sunday night’s win, and he didn’t figure on it becoming the story of conference championship week.
But the video, which was broadcast on Facebook and included Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calling the New England Patriots a derogatory name, has become a controversy. There have been breakdowns of locker room etiquette, an angry tongue lashing from Tomlin, a reminder that Brown violated the NFL’s postgame social media policy and now a public apology from Brown.
Late Tuesday night, Brown sent out the apology via his social media channels (oh, the irony).
It’s surprising how this all blew up. Sure, Tomlin said a bad word about the Patriots, but it wasn’t specific and he wasn’t insulting anyone. He was just using a word. Brown broke the NFL’s social media policy rule which requires players wait a certain amount of time until tweeting after a game, but did you even know there was a rule? Brown did break the code of sharing what is said in a closed locker room, but Jerry Kramer did the same thing before Super Bowl II when he taped Vince Lombardi’s speech and nobody cared. It’s not even like Brown is known around the league as a bad guy and this is some comeuppance. It was just a silly mistake.
But it has forced the Steelers to talk about it, among themselves and to the media, during a week in which they’re playing for a spot in Super Bowl LI. Realistically that shouldn’t affect how they play (and while it’s something to talk about among fans and media, it won’t affect how the Patriots play either), but surely they don’t want to be dealing with this.
Brown has apologized, and he and the Steelers are probably ready to move on. Unless Pittsburgh loses on Sunday, at which point he’ll probably have to hear about it again.
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