Brown Says Media Prohibits His Freedom

Steelers WR speaks out as minicamp begins

Josh Rowntree
June 12, 2018 - 2:07 pm
Antonio Brown stretches at the Steelers OTA session on May 24

Josh Rowntree

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - After missing all but two of the Steelers voluntary OTA workouts, all-pro wideout Antonio Brown addressed the media Tuesday at the start of mandatory minicamp.

"You start to think from the perspective of my kids, the time I miss out from their lives,” Brown said when asked why he did not participate. "I started to think what's important. If I'm playing football to make a lot of my or if I'm playing football to take care of my family.”

His tone quickly shifted to that of blaming the media.

"You guys write about me every day,” he said. "My mom and my kids see it. So, we have to deal with these type of things.” 

"I started to think to myself ‘am I really free?’ I can’t really express myself in this game and I can’t really tell you guys how I feel. You guys put pressure on me all the time. Am I really free?”

Brown frequently posts videos of his workouts online. Often times they occur in public locations. He feels the media is at fault for a lack of privacy though.

"You guys write the stories,” he said. "I got to wake up to the Google alerts. I'm constantly under the pressure. I can't go nowhere and work out by myself. Fans come meet me at the field. I can't do nothing normal.”

When pressed on what he learned from taking time away from the Steelers during OTAs, Brown continued his attack on media.

"I’m still under pressure,” he said. "You guys in my face, asking me about not showing up to volunteer practice. But that’s the world we live in though.”

“You guys put the pressure on me all the time. In regards to life and in regards to everything and we’re just supposed to take it. That ain’t freedom.

On May 24, Brown responded to a question about running back Le’Veon Bell skipping OTAs by saying, “the first rule of getting better is showing up.”

On Tuesday, he clarified that statement.

“You guys paint a picture that I talked about Le’Veon,” he said. "I’m not involved with Le’Veon’s business or his contract. You guys write about it and say ‘oh, AB says to show up.' I just said the first rule of getting better is to show up. I didn’t say he’s got to show up. He’s got his own business.”

While he was away, Brown made headlines with several social media posts. In one, he asked if he was the best wide receiver 'in the generation.' He also made controversial comments about his current head coach, Mike Tomlin, as well as former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, for their treatment of him as a young player.

“I don’t have a problem with anyone,” he said. "I just feel like, as a player, you play this game so much, you never get a chance to really express yourself. Everyone’s telling us to bottle everything up and say nothing." 

"When I reflect on my career, there’s a lot of people who put pressure on me. When I take time to reflect, I reflect like yep, there’s guys who made it hard on me for no reason. But I don’t hate those guys, I love those guys.”

Brown also seemed to make a connection between the side effects CTE in retired players and the lack of vocal freedoms players have while on rosters.

“As a player, I think you got to start expressing those things that, year-by-year, you go through to get them out of your head. I think the more that you bottle stuff up and you’re not aware of expressing yourself, that’s when these players have problems."

"But we ain’t talking about the players who don’t play anymore, the guys who can’t remember anything because their whole career they were taught to hold stuff in. I think we can’t really express ourselves at this level.”

Reports surfaced that Brown skipped OTAs after showing up to the second session only to find Ben Roethlisberger not at the facility. He did not return for anymore practices. Brown was asked about that.

“I play with any quarterback,” Brown said. "No matter who is here, I play with the Steelers. There’s not one guy."

Brown continually shifted his comments to, what he perceives, as an oppression and ignorance by the media.

“There’s a lot of things that you guys don’t know about that you write about and that you make assumptions about.”

“A lot of issues this game presents, you guys don’t really cover and no one has said anything about. I’m just left to deal with the madness from my household with what you guys make up and create. And it’s like no one even cares.”

Brown was then asked what issues he prefer the media write about.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t really help 30 people with what to write about. I’m just stating the reality.”

Hear all of Brown’s comments below.

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