Amid a plethora of Antonio Brown allegations and distractions, the New England Patriots have prevailed and sit comfortably with a 3–0 record. Granted, their two most recent opponents, the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, are as inept teams as we have seen in recent NFL history, but there is no denying that the Patriots are firing on all cylinders. With that said, all the talk to this point in the season has not been about what has happened on the field; instead, it has been about Antonio Brown’s situation outside of football. After an 11-day experiment, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft have decided to part ways with Brown as they released him last Friday.
Prior to his release, the talk all around Boston and even the national media was whether or not Brown could make it through a full season in New England. If I were asked this question, I would say, while the Patriots are certainly equipped to handle anything at all, Brown is absolutely not worth it. Let’s take a look at the timeline of what has happened since Sept. 7, the day he signed with the Patriots. They won their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with little to no trouble without Brown on the field. On Tuesday, Sept. 10, just a little over 48 hours after joining the team, Brown was accused of sexual assault by Britney Taylor, his former athletic trainer. There was already a lot of talk about the controversial signing after the way he shot his way out of Oakland, and this only made things worse. Nevertheless, it was business as usual for the Patriots, who still allowed Brown to play against the Dolphins less than a week later. He played well, catching four balls for 56 yards and a touchdown. On Monday Sept. 16, Sports Illustrated released an article detailing inappropriate behavior by Brown that took place at Brown's home with an artist who spent a few days there painting a picture. Three days after that allegation, on Thursday, Nike dropped Brown as one of its representatives. An endorsement deal with Nike is a monumental accomplishment for any athlete, so losing that is a huge hit to both Brown’s pocket and his reputation. Aside from all of that, he also made the poor decision on that night to make a group text with the artist accuser, his lawyer, and a few of his friends. It definitely appeared as if he was harassing her and attempting to intimidate her. This was ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to his release.
Let me be clear, I am definitely aware that he should be considered innocent until proven guilty; he has not even been charged with any sort of crime. However, the legality of the situation is irrelevant as it relates to the Patriots. Whether he committed these terrible crimes or not, the Patriots had the right to remove themselves from the situation and not deal with it. Nike made the conscious decision to do so, and the Patriots wisely followed suit.
Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, there is no debating that. He has shown time and time again why he deserves the attention he gets and proves his talent year after year. Any team, even one as dominant as the Patriots, would jump at the opportunity to get a player of Brown’s caliber. However, this particular athlete comes with a ton of baggage and ongoing issues. This is typically the type of guy that is on other teams around the league and causes locker room problems for them, while Patriots fans sit back and laugh at the dysfunction. Well, that guy who would usually be a laughing stock was brought here. Do I think it actually disrupted or ruined the team’s chemistry? No, but my question would be, why did the Patriots want to surround themselves with this situation in the first place?
The Steelers were viewed by many as Super Bowl contenders and the Patriots blew them out 33–3 on opening night without Antonio Brown on the field. There is no denying that he could have helped out the offense, but they have already shown they can be successful without him. I just do not think it was fair to the other 52 players who demonstrate “the Patriot way” day in and day out, to allow this guy along for the ride while showing he has no clue what the Patriot way even means. I think the Patriots are en route to their fourth straight trip to the Super Bowl and it is relieving that both the team and the fans will no longer have to deal with Brown’s drama.