The last six months for Antonio Brown have been nothing short of eventful. Eliminating the previous year before that with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the saga between Brown and the Oakland Raiders has been a ride for the ages.
The Raiders acquired the four-time All-Pro receiver in March and gave him a three-year, $50 million contract. Things were going relatively smoothly. The HBO series Hard Knocks was set to feature Brown and the Raiders training camp and everything. Things were looking up for the team in the Bay.
That was until things started spiraling out of control when Brown was unable to practice due to frostbite during a cryotherapy session. Brown wasn’t wearing the appropriate footwear when he started therapy and he burned his feet, leaving them frostbitten. This was an honest mistake.
After returning from his frostbite, Brown missed practice in August while battling with the NFL over his helmet that has been recently banned for safety reasons. He was then issued a $40,000 fine by Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock.
24 hours later:
Brown returned to the team one day later but then missed a mandatory workout before an exhibition game on Aug. 22nd, leading to a second fine for Brown.
Wednesday, Sept. 4:
Brown then had a confrontation with Mayock over some of his previous fines, which led to another fine. According to ESPN.com, Brown called Mayock a ‘cracker’ during that confrontation.
In total, those fines eliminated $29 million in guaranteed money.
Saturday, Sept. 7:
Brown asked to be released in an Instagram post, saying that he won’t play after he lost his guaranteed money.
Hours after Brown was released, he was picked up by the New England Patriots.
Through these last six months, I’ve sat back and tried to digest everything. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on inside of Brown’s head, but couldn’t figure it out.
Every NFL fan has weighed in at one point and has their own opinion on what’s going on and who’s at fault. After carefully studying everything that has happened, I think there’s something deeper behind this situation.
Brown is more intelligent than the general public wants to give him credit for. He’s nowhere near stupid, so let’s dismiss that narrative now. In a world where society has to find fault in everything, in an attempt to pick a side, people are blind to the obvious.
This isn’t Oakland’s fault. They’ve played their cards right and from the outside looking in have tried to implement and cater to Brown as much as they could. They couldn’t allow that to jeopardize the team’s continuity.
This isn’t Brown’s fault either, which sounds unreasonable considering he’s the one that caused this uproar from day one. I think something is going on mentally with Brown that he can’t control. While everyone wants to see talented players like him on the field, people forget that he’s a human with obstacles like the rest of us.
If this was anybody else that wasn’t a generational talent like Brown and they were behaving the way he has, it would be evident that there’s some mental disconnect.
Money isn’t the issue for Brown. He has plenty of money. There are some mental health issues that he’s is dealing with, and he may or may not be aware of them. As a society, we need to put the NFL fandom aside and recognize what is going on and pray on his behalf because this isn’t the end of this.
Whether the news breaks tomorrow, at the end of the season, or after Brown’s career I believe he’s dealing with a diagnosable condition that he can’t control. I just hope it’s addressed before it becomes more detrimental.