From Antonio Brown’s outburst to Aaron Rodgers’ performance – Sunday was proof that the NFL will put up with anybody if they’re good enough

From Antonio Brown’s outburst to Aaron Rodgers' performance – Sunday was proof that the NFL will put up with anybody if they’re good enough


This is what you get.

This is what you get.
Image: Getty Images

Antonio Brown needs help. But we know that in the same we know how good he is at football. This season, we found out that Aaron Rodgers is a “critical thinker” that believes he’s the smartest person in every room. He’s also extremely good.

On Sunday, both men that play the two most glamorous positions in football, and who both endangered countless lives during the pandemic due to their deception, had two completely different days that pointed to one of the league’s biggest issues — convenient amnesia.

For all the conversations that will take place this week on TV, sports radio, and social media about Brown and the help he so badly needs due to his decision to undress and storm off the field on Sunday during the third quarter of the Bucs’ game with the Jets, I hope the history of the numerous people that turned a blind eye to all the things that led to this moment are held accountable.

When Brown showed us who he was in Pittsburgh, the Raiders jumped at the chance to get him. When his stint with the Raiders ended in drama, Bill Belichick got on the phone and made it happen in New England. And just when we thought it was over, Tom Brady and Bruce Arians stepped up to make multiple excuses for him.

To be clear, we may never know if mental health issues are solely responsible for why Brown has done all the things we know – and believe – he’s done over the years. It’s not my place to diagnose him or connect the dots between his mind and his actions.

But…

What we do know is that Brown’s immense talent and his ability to help teams win football games are solely why these franchises kept taking a gamble on him.

I’ve always agreed with the notion that you can’t apply the same rules for everybody, and that you make exceptions for exceptional people. However, with that, comes a certain responsibility. And when it comes to Brown, teams have strictly used him for his physical talents all the while knowing they would be done with him as soon as he became a distraction that a back-shoulder catch couldn’t suppress.

Another conversation will take place this week, and it will be about Rodgers’ candidacy for MVP after he went 29-for-38 for 288 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday in the Packers’ 37-10 win over the Vikings, which clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC for Green Bay.

After a 2020 season that was almost wrecked by the pandemic, and an offseason in which Rodgers played chicken with the Packers’ front office, the unvaccinated quarterback that lied about being vaccinated and missed Green Bay’s Week 9 game due to being on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID list, is the front-runner for pro football’s highest solo award after a year in which he’s basically given the middle finger to society, the league, and science…all because he’s really good at throwing a ball.

I’m not here to debate Rodgers’ resume, as his play has been worthy of him being named its most valuable player. But, I am here to ask the question that no one wants to say out loud.

Why is the NFL OK with being a league that allows its best players to get away with anything?

The answer is money.

As long as Brown can run a route better than almost every other receiver in the league, and Rodgers can keep playing better than almost every quarterback on Sundays, the NFL is perfectly fine with putting up with them.

The league has made its decision. Now, it’s time for fans to decide for themselves. Because in the future, some kid is going to ask his/her parents, teacher, or coach why men like Antonio Brown and Aaron Rodgers were allowed to keep getting away with stuff like this. And that parent, teacher, or coach won’t have an answer that makes sense in the future because nothing was ever done about it in the past.



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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.