Social media has slowly but surely engraved itself in most of our lives. Whether it be communicating with long-distance friends or keeping up to date on your favorite sports teams, the three headed monster that is Facebook/Instagram/Twitter has branded itself as a normality over the last decade. Social media has the power to connect people across the globe, all while possessing the ability to ruin one’s reputation/career with a single click of a button.
Antonio Brown is one of the most socially-active players in the NFL. Between his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, Brown has a little over 5.2 million people following him, a number that doesn’t include the potential hundreds of thousands viewers he has on Snapchat as well. Needless to say, Brown has a lot of influence when he posts something, as do all athletes.
Yet Brown’s talent and charisma on and off the field naturally drive people to want to follow him, placing him in a special class of his own. If you’ve followed Antonio over the past few years, you’ve seen the countless number of positive posts with him spending time with his family, working out, signing autographs for fans, etc.
The tool that’s helped Brown reached millions of people may now be his downfall.
To be fair to Brown, not all of his social media posts have been positive. Between spats of his current girlfriend on Instagram, calling out other mothers of his children, and his Facebook live session in the Steelers locker room following a playoff win, Brown’s social media hasn’t exactly been squeaky clean.
We never thought it would reach it’s current levels, however. Posting a picture of him and Steelers president Art Rooney II with the caption “Good Business” following Rooney’s comments about Brown potentially being traded, feuding with former Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders and former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Twitter after their critical comments on him, or posting a picture of him blindfolded after a statement from Rooney stating it would be hard to see Brown back in Pittsburgh, Brown has turned into a walking reality television show.
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Brown isn’t alone in this fight, either. To form a tag-team in what has seemingly become a full-court press to get him out of Pittsburgh, Brown has recruited former Steeler James Harrison as a make-shift mentor. Harrison, who’s popular in Pittsburgh now for all the wrong reasons despite enjoying a successful career here, has done the following for Brown: Went on Instagram live during Mike Tomlin’s end of season press conference to promise a interview with Brown, and appeared on multiple radio/TV shows to voice problematic concerns about Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization.
Between smoking cigars with Chad OchoCinco (another great, but controversial player) promising a “interview” where he will explain “his side of the story” and posting ambiguous tweets on a every day basis, Brown has now focused his attention solely on the social media front of his battle.
How far has he taken social media? He may have even created a fake twitter account under the name @michael57692394. The account, created just this month, spends most (all but one tweet, actually) of it’s time defending Brown against other people who criticize him. But is it Brown? The language the account uses poses similar verbiage to how Brown talks, down to using the same hashtags #CallGod and the same slang.
— Thomas Carannante (@TurkeyTom17) January 17, 2019
Thus, we are brought to our current situation. With two months before the Steelers can actually do anything with Brown (March 13th is the start of the league’s new year), a lot of time is left on the clock for Brown to continue to burn bridges in Pittsburgh.
Brown has gone from a sixth-round draft pick, to the best receiver in the league. His hard work and determination have made him the player he is today, yet there’s no denying Brown’s attitude and character have shifted for the worse.
Brown was once considered a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. After the Le’Veon Bell situations that frustrated so many Steelers fans, many were glad to at least have a guy like Brown who, at the time, showed up for his team and got a contract he deserved.
Now, Brown has joined similar company as Bell in the eyes of fans. The talent between the two is undeniable, yet thanks to Brown’s own antics on social media, he now finds himself painted as a villain in a city that once bestowed him on a pedestal higher than any other.