In Supporting Seahawks Pursuit of Antonio Brown, Russell Wilson Sends Wrong Message

CorbinSmithNFL

RENTON, WA - Following months of speculation and rumors, the Seahawks have persistently been linked to free agent receiver Antonio Brown, who is currently in the midst of an eight-game suspension.

At the center of this speculation, quarterback Russell Wilson has reportedly been pushing the organization to sign Brown, a four-time first-team All-Pro whom he has developed a friendship with over the past five years. Wilson put fuel on the fire when video surfaced of him throwing passes to the veteran during an offseason workout at his personal practice field.

On Wednesday, Wilson was finally pressed about Seattle's apparent interest in Brown, including his thoughts on potentially adding a teammate to the locker room who has been mired in serious legal issues, including accusations of sexual assault, for the better portion of the past two years.

"The reality about Antonio is he's one of the best players to ever play this game obviously," Wilson remarked. "He's always been a special player in terms of the field. The reality is he's had some tough moments in his life, especially as of late, and I think he's gone through a lot of things he wishes he could take back and do and not say or whatever, but I think he's a special player for sure."

Now 32 years old, Brown has been a phenomenal talent since being drafted out of Central Michigan. He finished the 2010s in the top three in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. His resumé has Hall of Fame written all over it and there was nothing wrong with Wilson acknowledging that.

But the problem? Wilson didn't seem to understand the magnitude of the accusations against Brown. He didn't seem to understand how detrimental his conduct and unacceptable behavior have been to the three teams he's played for as well as the individuals who have been hurt by him.

"I think he's obviously made some mistakes along the way. I think there's been a process for that and had to deal with it and go through it. I pray for anybody honestly that goes through anything and that's just me. That's just my nature personally. I don't wish anything bad on anybody."

There's nothing wrong with praying and wanting to help people who have made mistakes. Nobody will ever mistake Wilson for not having is heart in the right place and wanting to support others. But rape and sexual assault aren't just mistakes. These wicked crimes ruin lives and fracture families. While Wilson means well, these aren't the type of transgressions that deserve a free pass, particularly from a star quarterback with his platform.

Back in January, Brown and an accomplice were arrested for attacking the driver of a moving truck and he was charged with felonies for burglary of a vehicle and criminal mischief. He later pled no contest in April and received two years of probation along with anger management courses and a psychological evaluation.

On top of that, while far less severe in the scheme of things, Brown ran his way out of Oakland after the team acquired him from Pittsburgh. He threw a fit about not being able to wear a specific helmet model, skipped out on practices, and butted heads with general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden before eventually forcing their hand and being released.

Still, Wilson believes the Seahawks have the culture and leadership to help bring out the best in Brown as a player and man. Telling reporters that the receiver has "been remorseful" for his actions in prior conversations, while he doesn't know what will happen in the near future, he thinks Seattle would be the right place for him to rebuild his career.

“Most of the conversations I’ve had with most his former teammates and stuff like that said that he worked hard every day,” Wilson said. “He came ready and I think he had a bad year or two there that didn’t go the way you want it to. I think that with our culture and how our culture is, with Coach Carroll, with the teammates that we have, the men that we have and the growth, I think, if he does play football, I think this is a great place. If he does play again, I think this is a place that he’ll grow a lot as a man as well.”

While the organization does have a history of success with troubled players finding their way, Brown's erratic behavior and mercurial personality would present the ultimate case study at a position where the Seahawks already look to be set. DK Metcalf has 496 yards and leads the league with 22.5 yards per reception, Tyler Lockett has four touchdown receptions, and David Moore is on pace for over 600 receiving yards.

In addition, though Brown will be done serving his current suspension after Week 8, the NFL is still investigating a civil suit filed by his former trainer Britney Taylor, which remains ongoing. The receiver filed a countersuit for defamation in that case. Understandably, it's still possible there could be more discipline coming from the league down the road after he has signed with a team.

Ultimately, as Wilson pointed out, the NFL is a professional sports league. Teams are always looking to find ways to improve and that's no different for the Seahawks, who despite having the No. 1 scoring offense in the league continue to be enamored by the possibility of teaming Brown up with Metcalf and Lockett.

But when it comes down to it, that's what was most surprising and equally disappointing about Wilson's comments on Thursday. While he clearly doesn't want to be perceived this way and shouldn't be criticized for seeing the best in people, by naively overlooking Brown's laundry list of controversies and downplaying the severity of his misconduct, he came across as just another tone deaf NFL player willing to win at all costs.

Comments (17)
No. 1-10
wantcoffee
wantcoffee

In a year where the Hawks are a legitimate contender and throwing the ball like no one else, it's awfully tempting to hope that they go out and get such a talented player at the wide-receiver position. If they do, I sure hope they know what they are doing. As a fan, I also just find it hard to root for a guy on the field that is thought to be a possible rapist. I understand that he might be innocent, but that's a hard accusation to ignore on the basis of giving someone the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty. Then there are the caustic things that happen on the field (sidelines). Remember when Sherman threw a temper tantrum on the sideline his last or second-to-last season here? I wanted him gone right then and there. A lot of people feel the same way as I do. Brown could be worse. If they pick him up I'll be doing a lot of holding my breath and hoping he doesn't do more of the same stuff his rep is built upon. Then there is next year, and the year after that. Brown won't likely be on any roster for more than a year, but his influence on an organization's culture could have a lasting effect. Personally, I'm rooting for Metcalf and Lockett to stay healthy and to continue doing damage. If I could make the choice for AB, as to where to go, I would have him retire and let fans of the game forget his tragic career- tragic in the sense that his personality is so toxic that it more than offset his enormous talent.

GoSeahawks
GoSeahawks

The author doesn't seem to understand the beauty of sports is it's egalitarianism - It doesn't matter who you are or what you may be accused of, only if you can play. Make a sign and boo him loudly, but don't try to ruin the sanctity of sport. Fans want to know who's the best player, not who's the best person, plus having a villain makes the show more entertaining.

HAWKSNATION
HAWKSNATION

stop talking down russell wilson for saying he would gladly take him in to play. people can change stop puting people down for wanting extra fire power on there offense lmao. hell wilson probably barely knows the guy

QuisCustodes
QuisCustodes

If you compare their first 140 targets, Metcalf and Locket have more than AB. Further, where would AB leach the targets from? the TE's? Moore and Swane, who together have the same stats over first 140 targets as AB? AB had one phenomenal year. He hasn't played in a season, he's 32, he doesn't have the playbook. He's a hissy fit away from out the door.
And finally, I don't think Wilson really wants him on the Hawks, but because he's the man he is he feels sorry for AB.

lastmileniles
lastmileniles

I think you mean "gravity" instead of "brevity" in the paragraph 6.

LagrangePoint
LagrangePoint

There's a couple of issues to look at here. First, the current set of receivers have worked hard at being at the opposite end of the ball for Wilson and deserve and demonstrated their place in the lineup. Bringing in AB will only cause resentment as they get pushed further down the hierarchy. Sitting on the bench with a SuperBowl ring? It's a family built by hard work and the collateral impact from the other team members should not be overlooked. Think of the movie Miracle on Ice and Brooks late ace that the coach wanted to bring in. Same thing. A few years back there was some locker room divide that Wilson was coddled by Carroll and this could bring back the feeling that this is a Russell "thing". No doubt this would help the team but this is no regular 2nd chance situation. It's a big accommodation to make and the collateral cost may be too great.

Seahawks3
Seahawks3

Antonio Brown hasn't been found guilty or convicted of anything. Where is the same energy for Big Ben? He has been playing for years despite having more than one sexual assault accusation.

FDR_
FDR_

Lots of people here are perfectly fine having a rapist (or probable rapist, he's been accused by two different women) in a Hawks jersey. Not me. That doesn't even get to his other problems: pleading no contest to a felony, forcing three teams to cut him or trade him, etc.

And don't forget, ever dollar we pay this jerk is a dollar we can't pay to a future acquisition on defense, which is an actual need.

And yeah, Big Ben deserves just as much scrutiny. But he has too many apologists, just like AB. Pathetic. If it was your sister that got raped, you might sing a different tune, eh? Maybe not.

12thmanfan
12thmanfan

First of all just because if we sign him doesn’t mean that he’s getting a pass. He still has to deal with that. 2nd you have no idea how God hates sin but forgives the sinner. Only God knows the heart. Be blessed.

Ilovealex1
Ilovealex1

Now that Antonio Brown has signed with the Tampa Bay buccaneers I want the writer of this article and everyone else who has something negative to say, to comment on Tom Brady support of AB. Tom Brady supports AB and there’s nothing negatively written about it. Don’t be a hypocrite, have the same energy!!


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