ESPN’s Jesse Washington recently tried to paint a realistic picture of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. Antonio Brown didn’t like it, so he responded with a realistic threat to Washington.
Tweeted Brown on the day the story was published: “@jessewashington wait to I see you bro we gone see what your jaw like.”
Via Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Brown has issued a statement apologizing for his threat to Washington.
“I made a mistake in judgment with my tweet last week, and I apologize for that,” Brown said. “It is not OK to threaten anyone and I need to be better spiritually and professionally. Though I do not agree with the negative parts of the story about my personal life, I need to have better control over my actions to use social media as a way to engage with my fans, rather than use it improperly.”
Washington received an apology not from Brown directly but from a Steelers spokesman.
“[The spokesman] relayed Antonio’s apology to me, and I accept it,” Washington said. “I understand that things happen in emotional moments. I don’t hold it against him at all. I absolutely did not set out to do a negative story. I just wanted to write about who he was off the field, like I’ve done dozens of times in my career. Over the course of the reporting, all of this stuff about his personal life emerged, and it was the first time I had heard about any of it.”
Here’s Washington’s original article, published at TheUndefeated.com.
Brown has shown in recent weeks flashes of a temper that cuts against against the all-smiles image he projects. He took loud exception to a fairly innocuous observation from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Bell was limping at practice after missing time with a leg injury. Washington quotes Bouchette in the story as saying that Brown confronted Bouchette the next day and accused him of being a racist.
The relatively rare NFL players who are both highly successful on the field, like Brown, and highly marketable away from it, like Brown, understandably hope to control the narratives about their lives, in order to ensure that the marketing money keeps flowing freely. Brown apparently is learning the hard way that not everything can be concealed, and that the more successful and marketable an NFL player becomes, the more likely it is that someone will try to paint a portrait that gets behind the facade that is presented for public consumption and private profit.
Fighting against those efforts will serve only to make people more intrigued about the potential disconnect between what is presented and what is real. With Brown, there’s apparently plenty more than what he wants people to see.