Arrrgh! It's one of the worst things about professional sports today, and it seems to happen a lot. A mega-talented player throws a tantrum, has no respect toward his teammates, coaches, or fans, acts like an imbecile, demands to be traded, and then profits from it. You shouldn't teach your kids to be like that, unless, of course, he or she can make millions of dollars by acting like a total jerk (feel free to add stronger word here).
Case in point. Antonio Tavaris Brown, Senior. Even if you don't follow the National Football League closely, you've likely heard of him by now. He was an Oakland Raider about 72 hours ago, but apparently wanted out, and got his wish. During tonight's telecast of the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game ESPN had a nice graphic to summarize.
Summarizing (or actually expanding upon) the summary, after being traded from Pittsburgh (where he also didn't want to be), he missed training camp in July because of frostbite on his feet (all of this, including pictures, is posted on Brown's Instagram account). Brown is also not a fan of the new helmets players are required to wear, aimed at reducing concussions. In August, Brown filed two grievances against the league, lost them both, and then threatened to retire. Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock then confronted Brown, and asked him to be “all in, or all out”, which brings us to this past week.
On Wednesday, Brown was fined by the Raiders GM for conduct detrimental to the team (acting like a (jerk), and wharever else). Brown posted the letters detailing the fines on Instagram. Thursday, there was a verbal altercation with Mayock, and an announced suspension. Friday morning, he apologized to the team, all was forgiven, and Head Coach Jon Gruden said Brown would play on Monday (really?). Hours later, Brown was released.
The next morning, Brown signed a 15-million dollar deal with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. He was ineligible to play last night against (ironically) Pittsburgh, but is expected to be catching passes from Tom Brady next week.
So who is this clown, anyway? ESPN pointed out that he's the first player to catch 100 or more passes six straight years. He's been selected to the Pro Bowl five times, and Google calls him “arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL currently.” He's never been to a Super Bowl, was unhappy in Pittsburgh, made his way to Oakland, reportedly because Pittsburgh wouldn't trade him to the Patriots, and now he'll be catching balls from a quarterback who's been to six Super Bowls. Not fair, and not right, but that's the way the football bounces when you are good, right? Remember, the NFL is the same league that brought us Terrell Owens and other divas, and employed numerous off-field thugs, and three murderers (Aaron Hernandez, Rae Carruth, and Ray Lewis (Carruth was convicted of conspiracy, and Lewis obstruction of justice)). We're not putting Brown in that league. In fact, he looks quite good now, doesn't he?
If you think that it was 'convenient' that Brown quickly ended up in New England, you are not alone. In an article on a website called theringer.com, a conspiracy theory is outlined that the entire ploy by Brown was orchestrated. Could he have been acting like a (fool) on purpose? The story points two other examples where the exact same thing happened. In 2014, running back LaGarrett Blount (who punched a guy on the field while he was in college) was dismissed by Pittsburgh for being a clubhouse nightmare, and guess where he ended up? In 2017, linebacker James Harrison reportedly snored during meetings and skipped practices, trying to be cut by the Steelers. He finally was, and became a New England Patriot.
The moral of this sad saga? If you are talented enough, it pays to be a baby, a jerk, a bad teammate, and any other bad word you want to use. It's paying big time, and will continue to as long as NFL owners, fans, and society as a whole, put up with it.
Latest drug cheat: There shouldn't be any room, period, for drug cheats in sports, but baseball may have admitted its own gray area here. Minnesota Twins pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended 60 games by Major League Baseball, not 80, for violating its policy on performance enhancing drugs. In a statement of contrition, Pineda said in a statement that he took an over-the-counter diuretic for weight loss given to him by a close friend, and admitted that he didn't check with team doctors to see if it was allowed. MLB actually seemed somewhat sympathetic, and reduced the suspension. He's still eligible for our all-time PED team, though.
Dodgers fail to clinch at home: When the Dodgers' week-long homestand started last Monday, their magic number to clinch the National League West was five. Despite sweeping a three-game series from Colorado, and then losing two in a row to San Francisco, it was only reduced to four. The Dodgers took the series finale Sunday, and Arizona lost, dropping it to two. The Diamondbacks lost in New York to the Mets tonight, so it currently stands at one. A Dodger win in Baltimore Tuesday, or a D-Backs loss in New York, and the champagne bottles will start popping.
Will Smith vs. Will Smith: We've been waiting since May for this, and it finally happened Friday night. Dodger catcher Will Smith batted against Giants closer Will Smith. San Francisco won this battle, with Smith striking out Smith to end the game. It's unclear if box office superstar Will Smith was there to witness it.