On Thursday, Bruce Arians, the coach for NFL team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shut down the possibility of Wide Receiver, Antonio Brown, following Tom Brady to sign with the team.
“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians said in a recent interview. “There’s no room. It’s just not gonna happen. It’s just not a fit here.” When pressed further, Arians said, “I just know him. It’s not a fit in our locker room.”
The news did not come as a massive shock to those who have been following Brown’s journey—but it does beg the question as to whether the league may have secretly blackballed Brown?
Brown made headlines in September 2019 after two stepped forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. At the time, he was a wide receiver with the New England Patriots.
Britney Taylor filed a federal lawsuit against Brown claiming that he sexually assaulted or raped her on three separate occasions. She alleged that Brown sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and then forced himself on her and raped her in 2018.
A second woman, who remains unidentified, said that Brown was inappropriate towards her while she was painting a mural in his home. She says the star approached her in nothing but his towel and made advances towards her.
The NFL then suspended Brown and said they were investigating the allegations. The investigation is still ongoing.
Until this point, the NFL’s actions seem perfectly legitimate. Brown was suspended and sent home, where he should have remained until the investigation had concluded.
However, in December, a report from CBS Sports said that “New England players and coaches would welcome him back,” seemingly dangling a carrot of hope for the embattled football star.
Through his social media, Brown seemed to allude to conversations taking place behind closed doors, but nothing was ever publicly confirmed by the league.
It was Brown’s apology tour, which seemed to raise eyebrows. Brown went on major news stations and even The Breakfast Club to apologize to both the league and Patriots owner Robert Kraft for his frequent rants on social media.
Brown was eager to portray himself as a changed man. Many assumed that Brown’s PR team was working overtime to clean him up for the new season. The player seemed hopeful about a return to the game.
“As a man, you just gotta, you know do what’s best for yourself,” he said. “Anytime you trying to make something right, it’s always gonna be people distracting and you just gotta stay focused on the purpose of the message and what I’m trying to give off.”
Let’s be honest. The NFL cannot really afford to have another Colin Kaepernick on their hands. While Brown’s case is in no way similar to Kaepernick’s, the potential bad PR could hurt the league just as they are rebuilding their reputation.
With Kaepernick, the league wasted no time in distancing itself from the quarterback after he kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustices against the Black community. The NFL strung Kaepernick along knowing full well that that would not be welcoming him back into the fold.
And the same appears to be happening once again with Brown.
Brown may deserve to be dropped from the league, but the decision should rest on the results of their investigation or the outcomes of the federal lawsuit filed against him by his accuser.
It’s time for the NFL to be honest with Brown—they do not want him back. Even after all of the apologies and him reuniting with his fiancee and playing the family man once again. They do not want him.
Brown’s NFL dreams appear to have come to an end.