Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mack: Are We Witnessing AB's Unraveling?

Do fans care if Brown is spiraling out of control?

Chris Mack
October 09, 2018 - 3:15 pm

Are we witnessing the unraveling of a man right before our very eyes?

The better question may be whether you care or not as long as he keeps catching footballs and scoring touchdowns.

Or perhaps whether he cares.

Antonio Brown is in trouble.

There are allegations against him that he destroyed his Miami apartment this past April, throwing furniture and other large objects out a 14th floor window “in a fit of rage,” apparently due to a duffel bag of $80,000 and a handgun disappearing from the residence.

Some of the items nearly landed on a 22-month old boy and his grandfather below, in the luxury condominium building’s pool area.

This allegedly happened around the same time he attacked the mother of one of his sons on social media.

This was just a month or two before he disappeared from minicamp workouts after pillorying the media for imposing too much “pressure” on him.

This, just a few months before he showed up to training camp in Latrobe in a helicopter.

That was a few weeks before he threatened a pair of respected reporters, calling one a racist and threatening to “check” another’s jaw.

That was around the same time he showed up hours late for an appearance at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

That was just a month or so before he flipped out on the sideline in the midst of a tie game in which he claimed he was angry that his team was “losing by 40.”

Then he no-showed work the next day.

What the hell is going on with Brown?

And again: Do you care?

And does he care if you, the targets of his always ebullient marketing persona, “A.B.,” don’t give a whit?

Despite the summer of unrest for Brown, Steelers’ fans – and the wide receiver himself – didn’t seem especially phased by any of the nonsense.

Not until it started to bleed in to the green space between the white lines.

When Brown’s jealousy and bitterness at not getting the ball enough have led to Ben Roethlisberger forcing the ball in his direction, fans have crowed about his selfishness and asked why he feels the need to be the reason the team wins, if the ultimate goal is just that the team wins, regardless of the means.

Castigate the mother of your son in a public forum? Meh.

Threaten the media? Big whoop.

Scream at one of your bosses in front of the world? Just competitiveness.

Chuck furniture from a tall building toward an area where anyone – including children – could be seriously injured? Hey, we all get mad sometimes.

Create such a commotion that the quarterback throws an ugly pass in to triple coverage for an interception because he’s trying to feed your need for the ball? OUTRAGE!! BLASPHEME!!! Who does this guy think he is?!?!

Antonio Brown isn’t likely to heed advice from many who haven’t already placated his ego with adulation for his physical abilities.

That includes the media and the fans.

The media has called him on his nonsense on multiple occasions now over the past six months, regardless of whether it’s affected his performance on the field or not.

My bet is while some fans will shake their heads at Brown, they’ll do silently, quietly hoping he catches another couple of TDs this Sunday in Cincinnati so they can pretend like none of this matters. To turn a blind eye toward the continued deterioration of a man who was once one of the city’s most effervescent sports personalities – as long as he’s performing on the field – is exactly the kind of enabling behavior that will allow the rationalization of his dour arrogance off the field.

As long as the touchdowns and the victories continue to come, there won’t be any pressure for Brown to get his life together. No pressure to live up to that postgame photo of he and his children, everyone smiling and happy.

Ultimately, A.B. will continue to do what A.B. does until it adversely affects the Steelers’ performance on the field.

Because that’s when the people that matter the most to him – the fans – will finally take notice.