You’d think Antonio Brown might learn his lesson this time, but if past is precedent, he won’t.
Because yet again, thanks to his own arrogance, selfishness and general disdain for people he hires to do work for him, he has landed himself in trouble.
And it’s costing him a hell of a lot more than it would have had he simply settled the debt he owed to his employee.
This is who Antonio Brown is. He’s an egotistical louse, a deadbeat, someone accused multiple times of domestic violence and sexual assault and impropriety. And because he can catch a football he’s been given chance after chance by NFL teams, all of his inexcusable behavior magically overlooked because he’s talented or had the right person vouch for him.
That last part is a problem not exclusive to Brown, but his situation reminds us once again that some coaches will agree to just about anything for a player that has been deemed useful.
The NFL announced on Thursday evening that Brown and teammate Mike Edwards have each been suspended three games without pay because they misrepresented their vaccination status; a third player, John Franklin III, most recently with Tampa Bay but currently a free agent, will also be suspended three games if he ever signs with another team.
And why did these suspensions come about?
In part, it seems, because Brown stiffed his former live-in chef and the chef told a reporter in Tampa that the vaccine card Brown presented to the Buccaneers was very likely fake, triggering an investigation.
Getting the vaccine: free.
Amount Brown owed chef Steven Ruiz: $10,000.
Cost of missing three game checks and three bonus checks for not being active in those games: over $330,000.
The stupidity: priceless.
This is nowhere near the first time Brown has entered into an agreement with someone — for a painting at a charity auction, with a wellness doctor, with a personal trainer, with a moving company, with at least one other personal chef — and then refused to pay them. In the case of the moving company, he was arrested after assaulting the delivery driver. On other occasions he’s claimed posts to his social media accounts are a form of currency.
(As a quick aside, can you imagine a call like this? “Chef Smith, this is ABC Bank calling about your mortgage. It’s overdue.” “Oh, well, I don’t have the actual money right now but Antonio Brown put a picture of my food on Instagram. Will you accept that as payment?”)
This time it’s cost Brown more than just legal fees. A statement from his attorney claims he would have missed these games because of an ankle injury anyway and that the receiver is allegedly vaccinated. The statement from the NFL and NFL Players Association said Brown, Edwards and Franklin “misrepresented their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols,” so if we’re to believe Brown is vaccinated he did it after submitting the fake card to the Bucs.
In the eyes of the league and the union, the difference between Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Brown is that the Packers knew Rodgers was not vaccinated against COVID. While Rodgers misrepresented his status to the public through his statements to media and maskless press conferences, he was honest with his team and followed nearly all of the protocols set forth. Brown was not.
Again, we shouldn’t be surprised that Brown lied. His history offers no evidence that he’d do anything other than act in his own self-interest. For all of his gross and at times violent and illicit behavior off the field, Brown isn’t much of a teammate on the field either.
This is, after all, someone who thought himself so above his teammates that he refused to stay in the dorms like everyone else during training camp with Pittsburgh. That said goodbye to the Steelers’ fan base long before he’d been traded, forcing the team’s hand. Who threw an almost-inexplicable temper tantrum over a helmet he was told with a year’s notice had to be replaced, going so far as to have someone paint his old helmet — and not that well, it should be noted — in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the Raiders’ equipment staff.
It will be interesting to see if 69-year-old, three-time cancer-surviving Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians shares his thoughts on Brown’s most recent scam. Not only did Brown risk the health of Arians and others with his self-centered behavior, he made the coach into a liar since Arians had boasted of a 100 percent vaccination rate for his team.
Arians is not usually one to hold his tongue and, you’ll recall, is a man who said he had no interest in signing Brown until Tom Brady convinced him otherwise.
Arians should have known better. He had a front row seat to Brown’s toxic ways years earlier, in Pittsburgh. But he acquiesced to appease his quarterback.
So on Antonio Brown goes, proving to be a chump yet again. Maybe those who enable him will learn. It’s clear he won’t.