In the modern atmosphere of professional sports, the cameras are pretty much always rolling. This is a lesson a new pro player seems to be learning every week. This week, it turned out to be two NFL players, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown.
During their week four game against the rival Baltimore Ravens, Brown flipped out on the sideline, eventually slinging a Gatorade bucket. You can bet all the sports shows grabbed that bit of film.
The tirade began after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger missed him on what could have been a touchdown play. Brown stormed off the field, pushed past offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was trying to help the player refocus, then stalked over to the water table and gave the bucket a toss.
That, of course, led to a lot of talk, online and on sports radio. Speaking about the incident, Roethlisberger both defended his receiver and admitted his actions were not the best choice:
“AB is the best receiver in the world, maybe one of the best to ever play the game. I’d like to think him and I together may be one of the best quarterback-wide receiver combos to ever play the game. I don’t know he needs to react that way. He’s superhuman on the football field, and when that happens, it almost brings him back to being a mere mortal, if you will. Because it gets in his head and it just messes with all of us a little bit. … I’m not trying to call AB out. I just think this is causing a distraction that none of us really need.”
Later, Brown spoke with reporters, saying he knows he messed up, and he thanked Big Ben for how he handled the situation.
“You’ve got to do a better job of controlling emotions. I don’t want to wake up and turn on the TV, and you guys are talking about me throwing a tantrum. We should be talking about Ben [Roethlisberger] and a lot of guys who had a great game, the Steelers winning a big game… It’s not about me. It’s about the Steelers. We all make mistakes as players. Sometimes I might miss a read. I don’t see Ben throwing me under the bus if I drop the ball or if I run the wrong route or didn’t get my depth. I don’t see him kicking the cooler. It’s no excuse for my behavior. I’m glad [Roethlisberger] did what he did. He called me out. As a general of our team, he has every right to call anything out. … I’m just grateful we have a great leader who’s forgiving and accommodating and willing to talk to me.”
This is exactly the right thing for Brown to say. He accepted responsibility, poked fun at himself a bit, and put positive attention back on the team and the game. He also got to celebrate a team win. Well executed, AB.