I want everyone reading this article right now to think back to JuJu Smith-Schuster’s first season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The fun-loving California kid frolicking in the ocean when it was announced he was the Steelers’ second round pick.
Coming east and seeing snow for the first time in his life.
Not having a driver’s license and riding his bike around the city of Pittsburgh.
Having his bike stolen, only for the good citizens of the city to help him find it.
Alejandro Villanueva teaching him how to drive a vehicle.
Those were the days, right? Now, all fans talk about is Smith-Schuster playing video games, doing tik tok videos on the opponent’s logo at midfield before games and, of course, the trash talking before the Wild Card game vs. the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Playoffs.
To be honest, when you hear people speak about Smith-Schuster now, you would think they were talking about someone who was one of the worst players, and men, in team history.
On Monday Smith-Schuster went on FOX Sports Radio for a spot on Dough Gottlieb’s daily show. Of course, Gottblieb asked about Smith-Schuster’s comment about the Browns, and the Steelers receiver double-down on his, “The Browns is the Browns.” comment.
Check out the spot below:
@TeamJuJu: "I said what I said. I'm not gonna change it back. They've got a billboard now in Cleveland just because of me. I should've trademarked it then...could've got some money off of it..."— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) February 1, 2021
Full Interview: https://t.co/iQo7OAYghO
You can imagine the fan reaction when this hit social media. The soon-to-be free agent receiver doesn’t seem to be changing his style, and this really rubbed the fan base the wrong way. But not just the fan base. Media has clung to Smith-Schuster as if it were their last meal ticket to page views.
What is truly mind-boggling is the reaction that whatever Smith-Schuster is doing is somehow unique. That it is somehow unlike anything the Steelers, their fans or the media has ever seen.
It isn’t like Joey Porter once stormed the Baltimore Ravens’ team bus wanting to fight the entire team.
Or that Porter was involved in many off-field incidents.
How about Lee Flowers’ “paper champions” quote?
Did we all forget Ben Roethlisberger’s motorcycle accident, his off field accusations or the multiple reports of his poor leadership skills?
Before I go any further, the age of social media changes a lot of things. Could you imagine Twitter being around when Joey Porter played? Could you imagine what he would have said in the locker room after being ejected for fighting William Green before the Browns game?
This isn’t to forgive Smith-Schuster’s lack of understanding of the media, and how to avoid being in the headlines on a weekly basis. But you do have to wonder if the reaction to the action is a bit overblown. A bit on the dramatic side.
For the fans, it seems their frustration with the team/organization are being taken out on Smith-Schuster. As for the media, with Smith-Schuster likely headed out of town, they are looking at a headline maker leaving at the same time.
Either way, when you take a look at the entire situation, it is hard not to see some bias towards Smith-Schuster and his “antics”.