That Antonio Brown is emotionally unpredictable and even erratic to the point of general public bewilderment is not news. But somehow, he found a way to catch football fans off guard and at a total loss on Sunday.
The Raiders wideout's baffling, petulant tweetstorm calling for unnamed critics to "keep [their] emotions off the internet" would simply be laughable if it wasn't so troubling-- because you'd have to be one hoagie short of a party platter to fail to understand the outrageous hypocrisy in play here.
But even his tone-deaf narcissism paled in comparison to his unprovoked snipe at former Steelers teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster.
AB came after JuJu.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 7, 2019
JuJu wasn't having it. pic.twitter.com/Fx9gDwEzxu
What on earth is AB's objective here? It's one thing for a high-level professional athlete for whom glory, millions, and adulation are the norm to pat himself on the back and believe he can do no wrong. Living the high life can leave you with your head fairly in the clouds. But it's something else entirely to blast a young up-and-comer -- a legitimately likable, supremely talented one, at that -- and blame him whole hog for Pittsburgh missing out on the 2018 postseason.
Yes, the JuJu fumble against the Saints back in December was bad; that's also not news. The issue here is Brown's increasingly erratic statements and behavior, which would seem to suggest he's developing a widening disconnect with reality.
Antonio Brown: “Keep your emotions off the internet”— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) April 7, 2019
Also Antonio Brown: pic.twitter.com/JODzIPP5fM
If you've ever argued with a deluded egomaniac, you know that facts are rendered more or less useless. For Smith-Schuster to point to any of his accomplishments in pushing back would have been a waste of time. With that in mind, his measured, sincere response was about as proper as anyone could have hoped for.
But that doesn't change the fact that Brown continues to reveal himself as a man of objectionable character who does not treat his status as an NFL star with nearly the care and humility such a privilege deserves. For this reason, it's worth asking if Brown, a role model whether he whether he wants to be or not, even deserves the chance to play professional football at all.
Without doubt, @AB84 is one of the best of his generation deserving of a monster contract.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) April 7, 2019
Without doubt, @TeamJuju is a dynamic, spectacular young player whose contagious joy is a wonderful, welcome presence.
Both can be possible.
I'm not here for the hate.
One day, the guy is going to wake up and realize he doesn't have any friends left that aren't on his payroll. If and when that happens, he'll have nobody to blame but himself.
To see such an electrifying talent sabotage his reputation and legacy in real time and in such an utterly self-inflicted, thoughtless, inane manner is something approaching demoralizing. But you can't force a man to save himself-- that, just as with sneering, flailing Twitter tirades, is a choice.