Antonio Brown Just Retired From the NFL…For Good

Antonio Brown is "no longer a Buc": Bruce Arians said after Brown left the  game shirtless | Marca

The National Football League is not a place for soft people. To reach that high of a level in any profession, you have to have put in some serious work, physically and, perhaps most of all, mentally. Those that are not able to physically cut the mustard or aren’t able to stand to the mental challenges will not find themselves part of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. Thus, the saga of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown will come to an end in one of the most ignoble ways possible.

For those of you who missed it Brown, a player who helped Tom Brady win his seventh Super Bowl title in 2021 and was an integral part of the wide receiver corps for the Bucs this last season, was by most reports upset with how he was being used in a game on Sunday against the New York Jets. With several contract incentives on the line over the next couple of games, Brown was apparently railing over something he had complained about in the past – the lack of targets by his quarterback. What happened next is something that you NEVER see in the realm of professional sports and would be extremely odd for a player trying to reach contract incentives.

When Bucs head coach Bruce Arians called for Brown to reenter the game, Brown allegedly refused to abide by his coach’s wishes. Arians reportedly made another attempt to get Brown to reenter the game and, once again, Brown refused, despite having teammates try to get him to comply. At this point, Arians told Brown to get the hell off the sidelines and Brown reacted, ripping off his pads and uniform, taking off his undershirt, tossing his gloves into the stands and prancing through the end zone before exiting the field to the locker room.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched Brown’s career in the NFL.

Once one of the best wide receivers in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown eventually wore thin on the nerves of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, forcing a trade to the then-Oakland Raiders. The Raiders would give Brown a contract that made him the highest paid wide receiver in the league, but he would never play a down for the team. Through several disruptions – regarding the helmet he would use, among other things – Brown was eventually released by the Raiders without ever officially making the Oakland roster and subsequently settled on the money from that contract.

Brown would then endear himself to Brady, so much so that Brady advocated for the New England Patriots to sign him to a deal. The Patriots did, for one game, before releasing him after allegations of sexual assault reared up against Brown. For the remainder of 2019 and part of the 2020 season, Brown was an expatriate from the game of football – until resolution of his legal situations and a suspension by the NFL were cleared and the Buccaneers signed him.

Which brings us to this last Sunday, and a shirtless Brown flashing peace sign as he left MetLife Stadium from what should be his last NFL game.

Don’t get me wrong. I will advocate for players in any sport more often than I will advocate for the ownership. Owning a professional sports franchise is a play toy for billionaires, using men (and women, for that matter) only to make them more money and then tossing them to the side when the decades of injuries catch up with them. One thing I will not support is players thinking that they are bigger than the game, or that they should be treated differently than the other members of their profession, let alone the “real” world, just because of their little narcissistic fantasies that they DESERVE better treatment.

Simone Biles supports Naomi Osaka on mental health: 'It's okay sometimes to  sit out the big competitions' | Lifestyle News,The Indian Express

I felt this same way in 2021 with a couple of other cases. With Naomi Osaka, her decision to suddenly not do player interviews at the French Open because of her mental health was a copout. She wanted something different than what every player at that event had to manage – dealing with the media. She finally did the right thing – admitted that playing in the French Open while she was dealing with these mental issues was not the right thing to do and stepping off to take care of her mental health – but not before making a spectacle of herself.

The same thing was apparent with gymnast Simone Biles at the 20201 Summer Olympic Games. After earning a spot on the U. S. team, Biles then went into a mental funk that prevented her from participating in all but one discipline in the competition. Called the “twisties,” it is supposedly a condition where, because of the rotations a gymnast does in the air, they lose orientation, something that is problematic when you’re ten feet off the ground. Biles, however, made it more about her mental condition and how she could not handle the pressure of competing in her CHOSEN PROFESSION.

Brown falls into this category as well, either through his own mental issues or, as some have suggested, potentially a precursor of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE (a condition prevalent among football players, boxers, or any other profession where receiving multiple concussions is common). He quit his job. But there is something that Brown, Biles and Osaka, and those that support them need to realize…there are mental stresses on everyday life for people doing normal things, and those people do not get the option of leaving their jobs or telling their bosses “I’m not doing this anymore.”

This is not meant to undermine those who have significant mental health issues because they are a serious thing. But when you have chosen a profession that requires you to interact with the media, follow the directions of a coach, or take away a position that someone else might have done a better job, then you are impacting other people also. Instead of making a spectacle of yourself and your situation, just walk away.

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The problem with this is that your average person does not have that same ability. They have to go to that job every day, even the days when they do not mentally feel like it, just so they can survive. They have to, for lack of a better way to put it, “suck it up” because if they don’t, they don’t earn a living, or they don’t earn a degree, they don’t put food on the table, or some other variation. It is arguable that this is exactly what Brown, Biles and Osaka had to do – overcome adversity to become the best in their given professions.

Thus, when someone like Brown does what he did on Sunday, it not only impacts his life, but that of those who cannot do what he did. Brady stated that people should have “compassion” for Brown because they do not know what he is going through. This same statement was made about Biles and Osaka, too. But what about the impact on their teams? And what does it say when they can have everyone cut them a break, but someone in a “normal world” job does not get the same break?

When your job entails you to speak with the media, to follow the instructions of your coach (or boss) or that you took a position that someone who could fully compete would have willingly taken – and you are paid millions to do these jobs – then follow the job requirements. There is absolutely no reason why any breaks should be given to these people, even if it is a mental health issue. Hell, LIFE is a tough row to hoe for most people – and they are not getting the breaks because they don’t have a “safety net” of millions of dollars to fall into.

You Defend ALL Rights for ALL People, Not Some of Them or Some People

Many moons ago, I defended this country as a United States Marine. It is, other than my wife and my son, one of the things that I’m most proud of and, surprisingly, I did it right. After a four-year stint with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, I’ve got the official documentation and diploma that says I was honorably discharged for my service to the country.

USMC

Thus, this last weekend – hell, the last 25 years or so, but that’s a discussion for another time – was quite angering for a military veteran. The actions by the SCROTUS, Orange Foolius, and his ill-advised and quite ignorant commentary on the National Football League and, in particular, players who protest the indignities foisted on minorities by law enforcement personnel, last Thursday night lit a firestorm with people. In those comments in front of a group of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals in Alabama, the buffoon in chief whined about how football wasn’t a “real game” anymore because of the concern over head injuries that the players might suffer (let’s just forget the factor of the debilitating effects of CTE). Then he launched off into a topic that, until he brought it back, had pretty much died out.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” Orange Foolius blubbered to the slobbering masses, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch (and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wanted to go off on the tangent the Pennsylvania fire chief went on in describing Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin) off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

Of course, the diatribe was in response to quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 season-long protest of police brutality and minority oppression by kneeling on the sidelines during the National Anthem. Don’t let the mere fact get in the way that it has since cost Kaepernick his position with the San Francisco 49ers, his team at the time, or the blackballing that has resulted from the other GMs in the league from his peaceful protest. In fact, other than a handful of players in the NFL (Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett most notably, who had a run-in with Las Vegas police that ended in a rather acrimonious situation), Kaepernick’s attempts to bring attention to the continued travesty that occurs far too often had pretty much been brushed under the rug.

ColinKaepernick2

That was until the Tangerine Fool’s hacking of red meat to feed to a bunch of rubes.

After Herr Twitler finished his hissy fit, the entirety of the NFL spoke up as one voice. Instead of a couple of players, more than 250 took a knee. Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, issued a blistering renouncement of Orange Foolius’ statements and entire teams, who would rather piss on the ground that Goodell stands on than join with him, linked together in a show of solidarity against the stupidity of the jackass in chief and him slobbering minions. This included the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (both donated to the presidential cause of the SCROTUS…wonder if they’re regretting that now).

These protests will continue probably for the remainder of the season, especially since this imbecile and his lobotomy-ravaged sycophants have tried to steal the concept of the protest, trying to make it about the “flag” and “the Anthem” and “the troops” instead of what it was about…the injustices facing minorities in this country, especially at the hands of law enforcement personnel. Be on the lookout for similar protests to begin in the National Basketball Association also.

Kaepernick’s protest was never about the military, nor the flag, nor even the Anthem. So why did he choose his moment last year to make his stand? Because every other means of protest had been taken from the people. Remember those idiots who said they would drive their vehicles into marchers in the street (they thought it was a great idea until a Nazi decided to do it and GOP legislators STILL want to reduce liability for drivers)? So, people don’t like marchers. Well, what about occupying an area and sitting or kneeling? Nope, that offends people too, unless you’re white, armed to the teeth and screaming about how “the gubment” is stealing your land…then you get acquitted. Kaepernick chose the least offensive way to go about making his protest (and, for those of you who say, ‘Why don’t he use his money to make his voice heard’…he has, to the tune of $1 million at the minimum) and it is one that the military men and women of this country should support wholeheartedly.

The military – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard – is 37% minority. That the dotard in the White House chose to go after minority football and basketball players (yes, we didn’t even touch on the Steph Curry and Golden State Warriors “visit” to the White House, but I’ve got to leave you some legwork to learning) is a damning sign when he doesn’t call out white supremacists, racists, or religious zealots (his very own “spiritual advisor,” the “Reverend” Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, suggested that football players should be thankful that nobody has “shot them in the head”) for their bullshit.

Beyond the racial factor, the military and its fighting men and women do not defend a flag. Those airmen and women, soldiers, sailors, and Marines do not defend a ditty written by a racist as he stood passively by in a boat, scribbling his screed, while watching those said defenders of the country die at the hands of British ships bombing the hell out of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The men and women of the Armed Forces – be they active duty or reservist – defend the people of a country, ALL people, whether they are white, black, brown, red or polka-dotted.

USA Constitution Parchment

They defend the Constitution, the law of the land, and ALL that the document entails. They defend the Bill of Rights and the 27 Amendments that have been made to the Constitution over the past 240 years. That means, when it comes to the question of the “methods of protest” employed by one group or another, they stand for it, even if they don’t agree with it. As a Marine veteran, I support the right of protest. It is one of the many rights that citizens are granted and that I defended for them and for this country. Freedom of speech is arguably (I personally think there’s not an argument) one of the greatest rights we have, the ability to speak out against the government, its politicians, and its institutions. And yes, sometimes that freedom of speech can be used in areas that make you uncomfortable or you dislike. Allowing such speech is the true test of the freedom.

I recall when I was growing up in Illinois there was a small town near Chicago called Skokie, a predominantly Jewish and Polish enclave. There was a band of Illinois Nazis (you wonder where that line “I hate Illinois Nazis” in The Blues Brothers comes from?) that petitioned for the right to march through the villa. After several legal attempts to stop the march were denied – on the RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH – the Illinois Nazis marched and people peacefully protested it. Such raconteurs as Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos also have that same right to be heard; so does comedian Bill Maher, who sometimes takes angles on freedom that people don’t agree with.

Freedom of speech is exactly that…you have the freedom to express your ideas. Now, there is also that right to PEACEFULLY protest on the other side and there are also the consequences of the freedom of speech. If you are willing to accept the consequences of what your freedom of speech might entail – as Colin Kaepernick has been – then your freedom to do it is guaranteed.

The National Anthem is just a song. No military person is defending a song. Likewise, the same could be said about the flag. It is presented as a symbol of the country, not something to be worshipped on the altar of a god. If you are disturbed by someone who is making a peaceful protest by simply kneeling on the ground but you accept something like this…

KidRockFlagPoncho

Then you are the one with a problem. And if you accept that – or accept a supposed leader in the SCROTUS who thinks that white Nazis are “good people” while calling minority athletes “sons of bitches” – then we can see where the problems in this country lie. And it goes beyond someone kneeling in silence to protest.