Tom E. Curran

Tomlin not letting up on Brown after ill-advised Facebook Live video

Tomlin not letting up on Brown after ill-advised Facebook Live video

FOXBORO – Mike Tomlin didn’t sidestep questions related to Antonio Brown’s ill-advised locker room broadcast.

Instead, Tomlin actually seemed to up the ante during a conference call with New England media. Asked whether Brown seemed to get the message that Tomlin delivered and take it seriously, Tomlin said, “I think time always tells those stories.”

Tomlin easily could have used a “we’re moving on” message or talked about how Brown simply made a youthful mistake but he opted not to. Which isn’t surprising.

The number one criticism of Tomlin is that the Steelers head coach runs a loose ship and that the lack of discipline and accountability is a big issue.

Seeing Brown run a live broadcast from the locker room while Tomlin’s trying to make a point doesn’t just keep that perception afloat, it advances it to a place it’s never been.

It’s not a stretch to say that Brown’s actions imperiled Tomlin’s reputation. There’s no wonder he isn’t willing to let Brown off the hook.

Brown addressed the controversy on Wednesday saying, “I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation. It’s a total distraction to the organization. A total distraction to my teammates. Obviously disrespect to my coach. I’ve got utmost respect to my coach so I totally regret that.”

Tomlin on Tuesday went as far as to suggest other players doing team-distracting things like Brown wind up getting passed around the league despite their great talent. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team,” said Tomlin. “Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.

Tomlin expressed embarrassment that the language he used in the postgame in the privacy of his locker room was served up for public consumption.

“As a parent, I’m not into public displays of that type of language so I was more embarrassed about that aspect of it not necessarily the content or the message of the video,” said Tomlin.

As to referring to the Patriots as “those a*******,” Tomlin said, “Man, you could have applied that sentiment to any opponent. You could have made that tape two weeks earlier and applied it to that opponent. It’s not about the nameless great faces that we play, it’s about our overall preparation and that was the sentiment of the message that I was sending to the guys not necessarily about the New England Patriots, they just happened to be who we’re playing this week.”

Tomlin also addressed the time element he referenced in his postgame speech when he said the Patriots had a day-and-a-half head start on his team. 

“I was just trying to instill a sense of urgency in our group regarding preparation and I wanted them to understand that we didn’t have a lot of time to pat ourselves on the back based on the performance of the last game,” he explained. “That we needed to transition and transition quickly and start the preparation, whether it was actual preparation or just from a mentality standpoint.”

Because of Brown’s decision, it’s probably been a lot harder to make that transition than Tomlin ever hoped.

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.

“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.” 

Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.

“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”

Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."

Steelers' Foster: Antonio Brown video won't be a distraction, but...

Steelers' Foster: Antonio Brown video won't be a distraction, but...

Ramon Foster made it very clear Monday that Antonio Brown’s self-promoting, postgame Facebook Live broadcast wouldn’t be a distraction to the Steelers this week.

But Foster also made a couple of comments that indicated he’s seen better judgment from teammates than what Brown showed.

“That’s an AB problem,” Foster said when initially asked about Brown’s 17-minute video which rolled on while coach Mike Tomlin requested players keep a low profile, Foster told players to stay off social media and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger asked his teammates to keep their mouths shut. “Coach Tomlin’ll have to deal with it.”

Continuing, Foster added, “I have no problem with it. We’re not sneaking up on anybody anyway. So be it.”

Foster went on to dismiss the notion that anyone should be rankled by Tomlin using the word “a--holes” to describe the Patriots, the Steelers' opponent Sunday in Foxboro in the AFC Championship Game. 

“Regardless, everybody’s an a--hole in this league,” said Foster. “This time of the year, it’s best on best. It doesn’t matter. We were gonna get their best regardless. We gotta go into their place and its just us against them. I’d love to hear AB’s explanation but it is what it is.”

And that’s where this non-distraction becomes a distraction for the Steelers. That Foster will be seeking – and deserves – an explanation from Brown isn’t a Brown problem. It’s a team problem.

Foster twice bumped up against the real problem that Brown’s broadcast presented. It wasn’t Tomlin’s language and it wasn’t lamenting being behind the Patriots in prep time.

It was the disrespect that the team’s best player showed in prioritizing his Facebook Live viewers over the words and message his coach and teammates were delivering.

This isn’t bulletin board material for New England. It’s embarrassing for the Steelers. A group led by Brown was giggling, posing and mocking real-time requests to stay off social media. Even having to explain that it’s not a distraction is a distraction.

As 12-year veteran Greg Warren, the team’s long-snapper said, “I think there are some things that are kind of sacred. I personally like to keep some of this stuff private. AB is AB. He can do what he wants to do. And you know what? We love AB. He's a heck of a player, and we will rally around him. Whatever he needs, we'll help give it to him.

“Personally, I like some of that stuff [staying] sacred, but this is a changing world, changing environment,” Warren added. “I can't be some old guy stuck under a rock, that's for sure.”

Brown did what he wanted to despite the requests of his teammates and Tomlin for one simple reason: because he could. It doesn’t matter in the least how some guy in Boston pounding on a laptop feels about it. It should matter among Brown’s coaches and teammates, though, that Brown felt that so entitled and untouchable that he’d create an issue before the biggest game of the season.