While the hits keep on coming for Antonio Brown since his season ended in questionable fashion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it would be fair to that few of his critics have been as vocal as one of his ex-teammates. As outspoken as many in the media have been about him, former Steelers safety Ryan Clark has perhaps offered the harshest portrayal of the wide receiver over the past week.
Clark’s decision to share some details of an altercation between him and Brown at practice highlighting the receiver’s ego and lack of respect for the coaching staff did not still well with AB and he would respond by calling the ESPN reporter an “Uncle Tom” on social media.
Come Tuesday, it was clear that Clark was far from willing to back down from his remarks, expanding on them even further in a segment aired by the ESPN show First Take.
Calling Brown extremely self-centered, extremely selfish and a narcissist in response to a question about being called an “Uncle Tom”, Clark was clear about how he thought the Steelers should deal with their star receiver going forward.
“It’s about respect. When you decide that you’re not going to show up for meetings. When you decide that you’re not going to practice. When you are benched, and instead of coming to the sideline like other players do in Steelers gear, supporting your teammates, being there for the whole game in a situation where it is probably the darkest moment of this year, because you’re facing your season mortality. Your playoff mortality. You don’t even have an opportunity to control your own destiny. You wear a mink coat and you leave at halftime.”
“There’s no respect there for your head coach. There’s no respect there for your teammates. And obviously I still talk with guys in the locker room, I’ve dealt with it. It’s been something that has been weighing on this team all year. And now it finally boils over.”
When you’re upset because JuJu Smith-Schuster was voted MVP and not you, that’s an issue. And that’s something that has to be dealt with. So you either say ‘Hey Antonio, here are thing things you have to do. Here are the marks you have to meet as far as behavior, or you can’t be here. You’re compliant or you’re not. You’re compliant or you’re not Steeler’. If he can’t do those things, he has to go.”
It is worth noting that the two men have had a disagreement that long predates Clark’s move into the media and it is not the first time he has pointed out what a bad teammate Brown has been in his eyes. This tweet coming just a month or so after Clark joined the Washington Redskins in 2014.
My family babysat for Antonio and my wife planned his son's birthday party. He's not smart enough to realize what a good teammate is! #done— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) April 28, 2014
Regardless, while this does not necessarily make his opinion less valid, it does makes him more willing to share the sort of inside information that would normally stay behind closed doors. Remarks like this are also certain to keep this story line running in the press a bit longer. Hopefully the news cycle will move on to something else in the coming weeks.