• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Opinion: Tom Brady says Antonio Brown needs our compassion. Is he right?

·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • New York Jets
    New York Jets
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Antonio Brown
    Antonio Brown
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Tom Brady
    Tom Brady
    American football player

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had a request Sunday after receiver Antonio Brown, yet again, became a national story for all the wrong reasons.

"That's obviously a difficult situation," Brady said. "We all love him and care about him deeply."

Brady added: "I think everyone should be compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things."

On the surface, it's a fair request from Brady.

But should we listen?

Does Brown deserve compassion? What Brady is essentially saying is that Brown has mental health problems. No, Brady didn't use those words, but the subtext is blaring, like a siren. Brady is asking for compassion because to him, Brown is fighting through things we can't see but things Brady may have knowledge about from Brown himself.

But back to the question: Should we be showing Antonio Brown compassion, like Brady suggests?

Maybe we should ask Britney Taylor, Brown's former trainer, who alleged in a recently settled federal lawsuit that Brown sexually assaulted her multiple times in 2017 and raped her in 2018.

Bucs QB Tom Brady played a key role in getting Antonio Brown to Tampa.
Bucs QB Tom Brady played a key role in getting Antonio Brown to Tampa.

Or maybe we should ask the woman who told Sports Illustrated in 2019 that while she was painting a mural of Brown, he appeared behind her when she was in a kneeling position. She said she turned to find Brown naked, holding a small towel over his genitals.

Perhaps we could ask the moving truck driver who accused Brown of assault. Brown was accused of burglary and battery. Brown later pleaded no contest and received two years' probation. He was also ordered to have a psychological evaluation and follow-up treatment, attend an anger management course and do 100 hours of community service.

Do we ask the numerous people who accused Brown of not paying them for the various jobs they did for him?

Do we ask the Pittsburgh Steelers, who both enabled Brown and survived him? Once, in 2016, Brown showed up to practice with his own social media team, which followed and recorded him. It wasn't just an unusual move to bring a social media team to practice without permission; it was unprecedented.

In January 2017, without coach Mike Tomlin's knowledge, Brown posted the coach's postgame address to the team on Facebook Live. It was one of many examples of Brown living by his own rules and being allowed to do so.

OPINION: Farewell, AB. You've finally worn out your welcome in the NFL.

OPINION: Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians will regret compromising his values for Antonio Brown

MORE: What we know about Brown's abrupt exit from game, split with Buccaneers

COACH SPEAKS: Bruce Arians says Brown did not mention injury before storming off

We could ask the NFL, which suspended Brown eight games for multiple violations of its personal conduct policy.

Hell, we could ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention what it thinks of Brady's request, since Brown faked his vaccination status, endangering the health of not just teammates and coaches but their families and friends.

You see the complications in complying with Brady? You see the layers? You see the problems?

It's not such an easy choice to show compassion to someone who has spent so much time showing none to others.

It's likely that Brown is a combination of two things: an awful person who has been accused of some awful things, particularly accusations of sexually assaulting and raping women; and perhaps a mentally troubled man who has been enabled every step of his NFL career and was never forced to deal with his mental health.

Brown has always been allowed to live from one play to the next, from one game to the next, from one crisis to the next. Teams cared more about his ability to score touchdowns than his ability to grapple with his demons.

So, in the end, what should we do about Brady's request?

NFL PLAYOFFS:Bengals, Titans, Bills, Patriots and Eagles clinch spots in Week 17

WEEK 18 SCHEDULE:Chargers-Raiders is 'SNF' finale; Chiefs-Broncos, Cowboys-Eagles on Saturday

Maybe we should ask former Cincinnati Bengals player Vontaze Burfict, whose devastating hit on Brown in 2016 knocked him unconscious? Steelers players for years have said privately that they believe that hit was the start of Brown's problems.

It's possible that hit, or the violence of football in general, created Brown's problems, or made them worse. Does that deserve compassion?

We can ask the Buccaneers' Le'Veon Bell, who also played with Brown in Pittsburgh.

“I instantly sent him a text,” Bell said, according to The Associated Press. “Obviously, he texted me back and I talked to him. He’s still one of my close friends. You won’t hear me talking bad about AB at all. Obviously, I understand things happen, but he’s one of my closest friends, a close teammate.

"Overall, he’s a good person. Some bad decision-making sometimes, but he’s human, he’s not perfect, and we’ll continue to move on without him and keep moving forward.”

Show Brown compassion?

The answer is far from easy.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Antonio Brown should be shown compassion, says Tom Brady. Is he right?