The Uncertainty of Putting Stock in Antonio Brown

Ruben Hill
August 22, 2019

Caption: Antonio Brown with the Pittsburgh Steelers


Oh, Antonio. He can’t put his foot down without stepping on some bed of hot coals (figuratively speaking, of course). Now, as the regular season draws near, everybody with a stake in Antonio Brown checks sports updates like brokers follow stocks. And lately, the news has pointed toward recession—unless Brown can somehow redeem his image.


When an elite NFL player takes over games and makes miraculous plays, people notice. First, of course, they notice on the field. After a while, they start to pay attention to press conferences. Next thing you know, they’re following the star on social media. As we’ve come to find out—particularly since the advent of Twitter—skills, awareness, and carefully-crafted strategy on the field don’t always translate into business or social prowess. When we combine the public abrasiveness of his recent actions with a social media ripple effect that reaches millions in just moments, people start talking. In this case, given that the regular season has yet to begin, they’re not talking about Brown’s superhuman receiving ability. They’re talking about his attitude—and wondering if he’s mentally focused for the season ahead.


When Missteps Overshadow Talent

Antonio Brown is perhaps one of the best—if not the most talented—wide receivers the league has seen in quite a while. He’s made catches that make fans stoop over to lift their jaws from the floor. But the past few weeks away from the field haven’t exactly boosted his brand, and some are finding it harder to stand behind him.


The league has seen its share of prima donnas, especially at the wide receiver and defensive back positions, but Brown has taken the role of emboldened agitator to a new level. His stardom on the field has suddenly taken a back seat to complaints about  uncomfortable new helmets (and helmet rules)  and cryotherapy gone wrong. The Instagram post of his afflicted feet says it all.


Years ago, it was Deion Sanders, Randy Moss, and Terrel Owens; these guys brought enough “attitude” to their respective teams to account for a dozen men. And they weren’t immune to public scrutiny. However, their gripes were arguably more legitimate that Brown’s helmet crusade—and the times were different. It’s 2019. That NFL is not today’s NFL, especially when it comes to the high stakes of media perception. As the weeks have passed and the complaining has intensified, fans and sports analysts alike have grown weary of AB’s issues and have made their frustrations known on national television and radio outlets, not to mention on social media.

Photo  by Keith JJ /  CC0 1.0

Caption: Millions of fans await to see how Brown’s drama will affect his performance.


Shaky Ground

For fans, the timing couldn’t be worse. Everyone’s gearing up for the first round of regular-season games, and fantasy football fans are drafting their rosters, carefully crafting the team that will carry them through the season, for better or worse.


Outside of the shenanigans, Brown is  probably a clear #1 fantasy league pick . With the dramatic media circus show, though, it’s not only teammates, analysts, and others around the league who are tentative about Brown. Fantasy league players and sports bettors are wary, too—or at least they should be. AB has given us reason to worry about his future in the league. Will he be booted from the league? No, of course not. Will he be traded or somehow let go? It depends on whom you ask. With so much uncertainty, fans want to have the control and ability to revise their predictions and wagers on the fly, should things really hit the fan in-season. While some current fantasy football apps are limited in their user-controlled capabilities,  upcoming sports apps such as FoxBet  will look to fill the gaps by offering plenty of resources and control to fan-users. This kind of platform builds a system where Brown’s next end-of-week outburst won’t tank fans’ Sunday predictions.


It’s difficult. How do you not feel confident in a receiver of Brown’s caliber and chomp at the bit to see him perform in the next game? I don’t doubt his talent for a moment, but life off the field and life on it are not inherently separate. Don’t believe me? Explore Tiger Woods’ bio and tournament performances following the divorce fiasco. Tiger is making a comeback now, but would the same be possible for Brown? Could his extracurricular grievances diminish his performance? History indicates that it certainly can. Given that Brown still has plenty of time to make his predicament worse, it’s shaky, shaky ground.


While I’d have a hard time passing up an available Brown in fantasy leagues—or passing up tremendous odds on his performance—I’d also have my finger on the Deactivate button, ready to counter the next nuclear Antonio Brown whine-a-thon.



Other reports by Click Lancashire

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