The range of opinions about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown range from the sublime to the ridiculous these days depending upon where you look, but it would appear that seasoned NFL reporter Peter King might have had one of the most extreme reactions of the week to Pittsburgh’s season-ending drama.
Currently working for NBC after over 30 years with Sports Illustrated, King is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame board of selectors and one of 50 names on the AP All-Pro voting panel. As one of the more experienced reporters in his field, King is not often known for his hot takes, but that did not stop him from adding himself into the middle of the Steelers’ recent drama when speaking to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Friday.
Revealing that he had gone out of his way to remove Brown from his All-Pro ballot because of the way Pittsburgh’s season ended, King highlighted another reason why so many players and fans believe media driven post-season awards are irrelevant.
Peter King says he took Antonio Brown off of his All-Pro ballot because of his situation with the Steelers. pic.twitter.com/v4GwPmi0Ey— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) January 4, 2019
“As far as his situation and what happened, I think it’s absolutely outrageous. Outrageous to the point that, when I submitted my AP All-Pro team on Monday, before any of this happened, Antonio Brown was one of the three receivers I listed on the team along with Hopkins and Tyreek Hill. And when this happened, I sent an email to the AP, and I said I may change my ballot.”
“I thought about it, and I said, ‘I can’t in good conscience put a guy who took the equivalent of six percent of the season, and flushed it down the toilet when the Steelers were in a playoff implication game.’ And so Mike [Florio], I ended up voting for Michael Thomas and I took Antonio Brown off my All-Pro ballot. I’m very, very serious about these votes, and they mean a lot to me. But if a guy takes six percent of his season and purposefully flushes it down the toilet. I can’t vote for him for anything. He wouldn’t be among my top 10 or 20 receivers for the season.”
For a man who is not in the Steelers locker room on a weekly basis and has no more information about what really went on with Antonio Brown that anyone else in the media, King’s response is rather dramatic.
His opinion makes even less sense when you look back at some of the comments he has made about the Hall of Fame credentials of a number of controversial candidates over the years. Most notably, he was an outspoken supporter of a relatively marginal player in Darren Sharper, despite multiple rape allegations involving 16 women that he would later plead guilty to and receive an 18-year jail sentence.
If I said, “I will not consider Sharper for induction because he has been accused of multiple rapes,” I would resign from the committee.— Peter King (@peter_king) February 4, 2015
He would also be an advocate for both Terrell Owens and Randy Moss for a place in the Hall of Fame, arguing their off-field actions should have no bearing on their case for induction. Reasons he explained in a column for Sports Illustrated.
“I can say the debate on both players was spirited, respectful, smart and less angry that it was in the past. We all know Moss had issues of effort in his career. We all know Owens has been a divisive figure on several of his teams, and it’s come back to haunt him in his previous two failed tries to make it. But this year, while both men had their detractors, it was clear the greatness of them on the field won the day. I’ve always had this feeling about people we consider for the Hall who may have a bad side. We need to consider everything about players—the good, the history-making, the ugly. And taken as complete packages, there is no question in my mind that Moss and Owens should be bronzed in Canton.”
Sadly, it seems King’s voting criteria is flexible depending upon the player involved and it would appear Brown is not given the same leeway as some of his peers. Some might call that hypocrisy.