Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell channels Antonio Brown in social media rant | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell channels Antonio Brown in social media rant

Tim Benz
New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell speaks to reporters at the team’s NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

Did former Pittsburgh Steeler Le’Veon Bell just have a “Mr. Big Chest” moment?

It sure looks that way. OK, he didn’t dye any of his facial hair blonde. Nor did he rant on a treadmill during a midnight workout session.

But at least Antonio Brown did that stuff in the privacy of his own home.

Bell’s Instagram rant apparently occurred on an airport staircase.

The New York Jets running back thought that would be the appropriate place and time to vent on social media … about social media.

It appears Bell’s angst stems from negative feedback he has received for channeling so much of his offseason energy toward his rap career, as opposed to dedicating himself strictly to football.

Careful. There are a few not-safe-for-work words in here. Also note, there are two videos embedded in the same post.

I know. There is a lot to surf through in the videos.

First of all, based on some of the photos I saw of Bell in Miami last year, he wasn’t limiting his taco intake to just Tuesdays. It appeared as if there were a few “Taco Mondays” and “Taco Wednesdays” slipped in, too.

More importantly, though, what Bell needs to grasp is that his interest in his own job as a player is always going to be in the spotlight more than others because he stayed away from the NFL for a full year in his prime.

Financial strategy or not, people have a right to wonder about your passion for the sport if you are going to do that.

Especially if you flaunt that absence by hanging out on jet skis and in strip clubs and focusing so much of your time on your musical endeavors.

Augmenting that was Bell’s decision to stay away from most of his new team’s voluntary workouts. Skepticism about his dedication is going to heighten because of that.

Now, in one respect, Bell has a point.

It’s naive, and frankly unfair, to expect pro athletes to do nothing but work out or watch film 24/7, 365. They can have outside interests and hobbies just like those of us who are — as Bell said — “civilians.”

But he painted himself in a corner by bailing on the Steelers last year. He’s not allowed to be the least bit rusty playing in his new Jets uniform, or else fans and media will have cause to play the “See! Told you he was distracted” card.

Let’s forget about the off-field distraction stuff for a minute, though. The bigger alarm to me — the more direct analogy to Brown’s social media meltdown — is Bell’s complete lack of self-awareness.

Do you recall last June when Brown started making a bunch of bizarre Instagram posts? Some were unprompted and of a very personal nature.

He also departed from his normal behavior and missed some OTA sessions, and he posted where was working out on his own. Then he complained that people were showing up to see him.

He moaned about waking up to Google alerts about himself on his phone — when the Google alerts were usually in response to things he said, did or posted online.

Makes total sense.

Isn’t that what Bell is doing here, too? Extolling the evils of interacting with people on social media, by taking to social media.

I think I can help you out here, Le’V. If you are tired of people giving you guff on social media, stop living your life on it.

You spent the better part of last year telling the world you didn’t care what people thought of you and your personal choices regarding football.

So now don’t try to play the victim in your rap career because people don’t like it.

Just log off and enjoy Taco Tuesdays.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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