Antonio Brown needs help that even the Patriots aren’t qualified to give him.
After 11 days of trying to keep Brown from getting in his own way, the Patriots did what they had to do and released him.
One day after Nike cut ties with the troubled receiver, the Patriots decided to do the right thing, and did the same.
Word from someone who would know was that it was owner Robert Kraft who made the ultimate decision to disassociate from the receiver who in his short time with the Patriots was accused in a civil lawsuit of two sexual assaults in 2017 and a forcible rape in 2018, then accused of inappropriate behavior in 2017 toward an artist he had commissioned to paint a mural of himself he was going to hang in his Pennsylvania home, according to a Sports Illustrated report. Brown was released one day after an attorney for the artist told SI and NFL investigators that Brown sent the artist and four others a group text saying in menacing fashion that the artist fabricated the story.
Kraft did the right thing, even if it did make his football team less explosive, and in so doing gave credence to his words about the level of respect he has for women.
In releasing Brown, the Patriots became a less talented, more likable football team. In removing Brown from the organization, the Patriots took a ticking time bomb off the premises with a statement emailed at 4:13 p.m. Friday, moments after Brown had tweeted from his @AB84 handle: “Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots.”
The decision had nothing to do with football. He appeared to be fitting in well in that regard, had an explosive first half last Sunday against the Dolphins, drew raves from coaches and teammates for his practice habits and said all the right things in his one and only interview with the media as a member of the Patriots, one that lasted one minute.
But the shockingly bad judgment he showed in thinking it was a good idea to send a text to the artist from the SI story and four others, a text termed by the artist’s attorney as “intimidating and threatening to our client,” showed that Brown’s mind is in an irrational place. If he didn’t have the wherewithal to know what a horrible idea that was, what else was he going to do under the Patriots’ watch? Letting him get away with that would have invited an escalation of strange, menacing behavior. Where would it end?
Brown no doubt has a number of people in his life trying to advise him to do the right thing and seek the help of professionals trained at dealing with people dogged by self-destructive behaviors. But will he listen to them?
In the span of less than two weeks, Brown has been released by the Raiders and Patriots.
He broke into a wild sprint celebrating his freedom when the Raiders released him. In essence, it was a celebration over costing himself $30 million.
The fact that Brown could not resist his compulsion to send a tweet to the artist and four others Wednesday night, blaming and shaming her, revealed too much about his state of mind for the Patriots to ignore.
Any notion that the Pats are as strong on the field without Brown as with him misses the mark. Having Brown, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon on the field together was a defensive coordinator’s nightmare, a quarterback’s dream.
But it’s not as if the Pats don’t have depth at receiver. Two games into the season, Phillip Dorsett has seven catches in seven targets and has averaged 19.1 yards a reception. He and Brady exhibit the telepathy of twins.
But the Patriots are not without concerns on offense. Injuries to the offensive line mean the running game will need to produce to keep the Jets from teeing off on Tom Brady. One problem: The running game works best when fullback James Develin is clearing a path for Sony Michel. Develin is sidelined by a neck injury, which opens the possibility of Belichick’s long history of getting creative with using players at multiple positions.
These are football problems. Nobody solves football problems better than Belichick.
Brown’s problems have nothing to do with football. He needs help from people trained in other areas. Here’s hoping he takes the steps necessary to get that help out of the public eye.