Fans of Antonio Brown and the New Orleans Saints had an excellent reason to get excited last week when Brown visited the team for a workout. The thought of Brown lining up with Michael Thomas just made fans giddy. Oh, the damage Drew Brees could do to defenses with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Antonio Brown to work with!
But it doesn’t look like it is going to happen – and not necessarily because of the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Brown.
Brown was one of six receivers the Saints brought in for a workout last week, a workout they categorized as doing their ‘due diligence.’ As it turns out, the Saints decided to go with former Baltimore Raven wide receiver Tim White instead (and signed him to the practice squad this week).
So, what does Brown do? He posts a video on social media thanking the Saints but then accusing them of using him as a publicity stunt:
The Saints are a team that went 13-3 during the regular season. They have a guy at quarterback that just broke the all-time career passing yards record in Drew Brees. He’s throwing the ball to arguably the best wide receiver in the league (Michael Thomas) and hands it off to one of the most electric running backs in the league.
As they are, the Saints are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. So, it’s safe to say publicity is not an issue for them. They are getting plenty of it – and for all the right reasons.
They don’t need help in that area, certainly not from a wild card like Brown.
Antonio Brown must think the NFL still thinks talent can trump trouble if you have enough of it. Go back just five years, and that would likely be the case. Sometimes it still is (i.e., the never-ending parade of chances Josh Gordon has had).
But in recent years, teams have started to become concerned with optics. They don’t like guys on social media that curse people out and call them racists. Violence against women? It always should have been but is finally a big no-no.
Being a constant, never-ending source of distractions and disruptions? No one wants that. Bringing your entourage and a camera crew to a workout after being told not to? Bad idea. Accusing a team of using you for publicity? Not smart.
Yeah, those are great ways to burn bridges and become persona-non-gratis real fast.