Footballer Antonio Brown is a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. Or rather, he was, until tonight, when he decided to rip off his shirt in the middle of the game and walk off the field in a game against the New York Jets earlier today.
When asked about Brown’s status, Coach Bruce Arians made it clear: “He is no longer a Buc. Alright? That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys who went out there and won the game.”
When asked by another reporter, Arians insisted, “I’m not talking about it. He’s not part of the bucs.”
I Missed The Game! What’s Going On?
— Miller (@mmmmillah) January 2, 2022
During a break in second-half play, Brown suddenly took off his gear and ripped off his shirt. He threw his shirt and gloves into the stands and jogged off the field. Before leaving, he did some jumping jacks in the end zone and waved to the crowd before running off.
The incident happened in the third quarter when the Jets were leading 24-10. Jen Hale of Fox Sports reported that teammates Mike Evans and O.J. Howard tried to contain Brown’s “meltdown,” to no avail. Fans captured footage of the event, showing an irate Brown pulling off his clothes before walking off.
It is not immediately clear at this time why Brown decided to walk off the field. This was Brown’s second game on the field after he was facing a 3-day suspension for violating NFL COVID-19 protocols.
Tom Brady Calls For ‘Empathy’ As Fans React
“Everyone should be compassionate and empathetic to some difficult things that are happening,” Tom Brady said of Antonio Brown.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) January 2, 2022
According to Rick Stroud, Tom Brady, who fought to get the Bucs to sign Brown in the first place, asked for fans to be “compassionate” towards Brown. He tweeted:
“Everything should be compassionate and empathetic to some difficult things that are happening,” Tom Brady said of Antonio Brown.
Fans had mixed reactions to the incident, with one fan writing, “That’s basically an admission of the role of CTE, because there’s nothing else to be empathetic about.”
“Mental health,” another replied. “That’s just as likely has nothing to do with CTE.”
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the term used to describe brain degeneration caused by repeated head traumas, and is a common concern for many in the NFL.
Video of Antonio Brown leaving the field after taking off his jersey and shirt and throw it into the stands. pic.twitter.com/1hwNYei5Fq
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 2, 2022
“It’s obvious he is troubled,” another wrote. “I’m sure the NFL has resources. I don’t want to read about AB in 3 years like Vincent Jackson God rest his soul.”
Former NFL Vincent Jackson died in February 2021 from chronic alcohol use, according to a medical examiner. The Concussion Legacy Foundation had said only a few days prior that Jackson had been diagnosed with Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the progressive brain disease associated with repeated head trauma.
“Players have access to the best support – but they have to admit they need help and accept it,” another added.
“Bulls—,” another wrote. “That’s what happen when u give these guys 10 chances.”
“Instead of immediately jumping to conclusions…I’d like to know what was SAID to AB,” another wrote. “I mean, yeah I know he can be problematic but he been BALLING and was on his way to earn his contractual incentives. They must’ve said something REAL CRAZY to him.”
“Does it really matter?” another asked. “Regardless what was said, this is not the behavior of a professional let alone a grown man!”