Antonio Brown and The Patriots Played Us All Like Fools
It's time to come to grips with the fact we've all been played the fool. For all the "Prima-Donna" drama following now New England Patriots WR Antonio Brown, he appears to have had an endgame that nobody saw coming until right before it happened.
You'd be hard pressed to convince, well, anyone---the New England Patriots and Emperor Belichick weren't involved in the Subterfuge either.
We all know the story by now--all though if you were one of the many like me who watched HBO's NFL Commercial "Hard Knocks" you may not know it all. For that matter, none of us may ever actually know it all because you're talking about an athlete in Brown and a team in the Patriots who may never fully fess up to what took place.
Somehow, in the span of about 3-days, Brown went from a player on the Raiders active roster to player who was fined by his General Manager to player who was cut and picked up exactly three hours later by the league's best team.
It was hard to tell exactly what was going on with the diva-licsious Brown who was seen this off-season mostly in clips and segments cobbled together by an NFL Films crew for Hard Knocks. It showed a player basically well liked, working hard with trainers and coaches to get himself ready to play after a stupid mishap (frostbite of the feet).
The show portrayed Brown as a guy with some mildly odd behaviors trying to fit in with teammates and having a solid relationship with General Manager Mike Mayock and Coach Jon Gruden.
Until he didn't.
It all began with Brown throwing a temper tantrum after being informed he'd be fined for missing practices, walkthrough's and other team mandated events. His response was to take the formal letter sent to him and post it on Social Media.
He would apologize for that shortly there after in what multiple reporters termed an "Emotional" meeting with his teammates who said at the time "They stood by him".
Until they didn't.
Shortly thereafter---this extremely professionally edited and produced video appeared on Brown's YouTube page:
Don't for a minute think this was a coincidence. Particularly after hearing reports on Sunday stating Brown had hired a "Social Media Consultant".
Hmmmm.....did the plot thicken here??
At the end of the day, what happened may very well just depend on who or what you believe. Why? Because as much as I don't care for Brown, I don't give him or his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, credit for orchestrating the Patriots part of this ahead of time. Yeah, sure the timing worked out and the idea of them reaching out to say "I'll be there for you" is not out of the realm of possibility.
But it also had a lot---an awful lot, to do with the inexperienced and incapable of comprehending what they had Raiders.
Trading for a somewhat divalicious talent looks great to the fanbase, but unless you know how to handle him, it's not going to end well.
Quite a few former players and some current reacted by saying all would have been fine had the Raiders and Mayock not fined Brown. Maybe it would have worked out. But maybe it wouldn't. Guys like Brown want to know their bosses have their back. Waiting until the preseason ended and a dust-up ensued to have Mayock drop a $200K-plus fine for something Brown thought was behind him was apparently the final straw.
Based on multiple reports--Brown decided instead of getting mad, he'd get even. By hiring a Social Media coach and making the Raiders look stupid, he quickly gained the upper hand and forced them to do something. In the era where most everything someone puts on Social Media draws a reaction---it totally worked.
The only question I have is how the New England Patriots were there sitting--and waiting for the 3-hour cooling off period after the Raiders cut Brown? It took less than 5-minutes for them to claim the mercurial WR.
Did the Patriots know this would happen? Did they jump to the top of the Waiver line? Did anyone else try claiming him?
Like I said we may never know exactly how it played out behind the scenes in part because the Patriots---well, play by their own set of rules. I'm not accusing them of doing anything illegal--but considering their past transgressions, it's not ridiculous to think they did.
They likely just like Brown--but in a different way just were ready, willing and able to jump on an unexpected opportunity.
Or maybe there was something else.......