I'm going to tell you a joke. Antonio Brown was a Pittsburgh Steeler, until he suddenly didn't want to be one anymore. So the Steelers traded him to the Oakland Raiders. But Brown didn't want to go to the Raiders; he wanted to be a New England Patriot. This set the stage for one of the most ridiculous summers a player in any sport has ever had.
Antonio's wacky summer began, innocently enough, with a frostbitten foot. Apparently, using a cryotherapy machine without proper footwear will turn your feet into a pile of splintered wood. It was a weird standalone story that, looking back, was just an amuse-bouche before the lavish meal of lunacy to come. (If you ingested poison and need to vomit, click this link to look at the pictures of his disgusting rotting feet.)
Brown threw a fit when the NFL made him wear a newer, safer helmet that would lessen the chance of his brain turning into delectable beef stew. So he threatened to quit football forever if he wasn't allowed to take shots to the head wearing headgear that was virtually no different than those novelty helmets you eat soft serve out of at sporting events.
He eventually acquiesced and showed up to practice with the new helmet. But it was actually the old helmet hand-painted (terribly) in the Raiders' colors, because he's an incorrigible Little Rascals-esque scamp who always has wild ideas on how to get himself out of a pickle.
Pissed about getting fined for missing two practices, Brown nearly got into a fistfight with the team's general manager and called him a "cracker." By this point, a suspension is obvious, right? Well, see, Brown is one of the greatest wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. The NFL is filled with craven meatheads who'd rather win than possess any standards, so it makes sense that after a frozen foot, a weird helmet hissy fit, and an attempt to fight his boss, the Raiders still wanted Brown to play in their first game of the season. Antonio Brown is so good at football that he threatened to beat up his boss, and the boss was like, "I'll see you at work on Monday."
Brown then released a seemingly self-made video with the production quality of a Nike ad.
The audio appears to be from a secretly recorded conversation between Brown and his head coach, Jon Gruden. Gruden is one of those aforementioned meatheads. As such, he thought someone secretly recording a call, which is very illegal in California, and turning it into a PR hype video was "awesome." Everyone in this story is the worst.
The Raiders stripped all of Brown's guaranteed money out of his contract. He formally requested a release on Instagram, and the Raiders mercifully let him go Saturday afternoon. (Given everything that's happened already, they probably tried to haggle him into at least playing the first half of Monday's game.)
And yet somehow, the story goes on. According to ESPN, at least some of this prima donna behavior was suggested by social media consultants and orchestrated by Brown with the specific intent of making him look like an unhinged idiot, so that the Raiders would have no choice but to release him. But why? All of this happened because the Steelers didn't want to trade Brown to the rival Patriots. And guess who extremely predictably swooped in to sign Antonio Brown hours after his release?
The New England Patriots. Ba-dum-tss.
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