U mad, bro? Some Steelers fans backing Antonio Brown's media rant
Unfortunately, our first "U Mad, Bro?" was a raging success.
Good traction. Good response. Good interaction. All this despite my plan to introduce it during one of the most quiet times on the sports calendar in hopes of killing it before it got any legs.
Crud. This development is unfortunate for two reasons.
1. I have to admit my superiors were right. I hate doing that. I hate that like I hate seeing the Steelers go five-wide, empty set backfield on third-and-1. But they got this one right. A weekly "Q&A post" was a sharp idea.
2. I have to endure more personal interaction with all of you, the great unwash ... uh, I mean ... our fine readership.
Sigh. Welp, I guess "this is a thing now." So let's do it.
As always, I happily encourage you to submit any and all comments for "U mad, bro?" to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or through the pox on America that is Twitter @TimBenzPGH
Anything that makes you mad at me, my opinions, the teams or players we are discussing, the state of sports in general — the floor is yours.
And the elevator is broken. So I can't get to a different floor.
I'm just going to do all of today's "U mad, bro?" post on blowback I have gotten from Antonio Brown's fans raging against me for my stance on what Brown had to say Tuesday.
These folks aren't quite the "Phil Kessel DePhense Phoundation," but they are close.
If you missed it, the Steelers All-Pro receiver said he was having a hard time dealing with all the media scrutiny and pressure on him.
This is bogus. The media scrutiny has all been brought on Brown himself, largely through his own social media posts. But many of you choose to ignore that fact. Here's a very small sample:
Nobody works harder than AB or is more dedicated to winning and being the best. But let's criticize him and label him over nothing just to create a story or 3.— Pittsburgh Sports Zone (@Be_HarkerLWOS) June 12, 2018
He's sharing his honest feelings, they might be a little off base, but they are his feelings. I'm not going to hang him on a cross for it. Bored talk show hosts looking for topics might.— RayHaluskaStatsStuff (@CruisingRay) June 12, 2018
I think he wants to be able to go out to practice or with his kids and just not be bothered anymore. I think he's getting sick of the limelight. I could be wrong but I hear a guy who wants to be a dad when he's a dad and a grocery shopper when he's grocery shopping. A real break— Chris Toporski (@TopoC) June 12, 2018
No one in the media brought Antonio Brown's work ethic or productivity into question. He's a great player between the white lines. Between his brain and his thumbs posting to social media is where the problem occurs.
As far as Brown's "feelings being a little off base," they aren't a little off base. They are entirely off base.
As far as his fatigue of being in the limelight, if that was the case, why is he so frequently thrusting himself into it? No one in the media said to Antonio Brown: "Hey, A.B.! Are you by any chance holding a seven-year grudge against Bruce Arians we don't know about?"
The media isn't "hanging him to the cross." He's doing that himself.
Then — as a so-called bored talk show host and columnist — let me be the first to say: Bore me! Please!
When it comes to covering the Steelers, I'd kill to be bored. My God, these guys are exhausting. A.B.'s drama. Ben Roethlisberger's reaction to a quarterback getting drafted. Le'Veon Bell's absence.
Bored? You need an oxygen tank, Gatorade and a sports psychologist in the media room just to cover this team.
I need a vacation. I'm taking one starting today, in fact. Hence, this post running a day early.
Before Brown popped off Tuesday, many of the Steelers reporters in that interview room were content to crank out a few hundred words on Darryl Drake taking over as the club's wide receiver's coach or Chuks Okorafor trying to replace Jerald Hawkins as the back-up swing tackle.
Oh, speaking of which, look for my new post on Steeler rookie Chuks Okorafor and his suddenly expanded role in the Steeler offense coming soon to Breakfast With Benz!
That, my friends, is what we in the business call "a tease."
The point is, let's not blame shift. I know media fabrication when I see it. But this isn't it.
Brown posted his own unsolicited thoughts about Arians, Tomlin and his family situation. Brown offered the quote about Bell. Brown stayed away from OTAs.
A.B.'s fans can be as angry as they want. But this isn't a story the media planted.
Sorry for the one-topic response. But debate over A.B. was definitely the dominant flavor du jour. With vacation at hand, it'll be a short week, and I saved all of your responses on other topics from the week that was. So look for them next week.