FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady earlier this week said he can’t imagine a situation like the one that transpired Sunday in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room ever happening to the New England Patriots.
He was talking, of course, about Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown’s ill-advised decision to record video of head coach Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech and broadcast it on Facebook Live. Several Pittsburgh players have since condemned Brown’s antics, and Tomlin said he plans to punish the All-Pro wideout.
Pittsburgh and New England are preparing to square off Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. Unsurprisingly, social media etiquette was a topic of conversation when Patriots players met the media Tuesday afternoon.
“Yes, we have a team policy on that,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “(It’s) strictly enforced, and we go from there.”
Receiver Chris Hogan said the team was given a refresher on that policy in the wake of Brown’s video.
“I believe there’s one for the NFL, and we were reminded of that,” Hogan said. “I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room.”
In the video, Tomlin can be heard calling the Patriots “a–holes.” Echoing New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who rhetorically asked whether Tomlin’s comments should hurt his feelings during an interview with WEEI’s “OM&F,” Slater said he wasn’t offended by the coach’s remarks.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin,” Slater said. “I appreciate the way he preps his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way.”
Slater and Hogan both said the controversy would not be a distraction nor a source of extra motivation in the lead-up to the Patriots’ sixth consecutive AFC title game.
“We’re 100 percent football here,” Hogan said. “It’s not about anything outside, between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we’re doing. When we come here, it’s 100 percent football, and that’s all we’re focused on.”
“We’re playing in the AFC Championship Game,” Slater added. “If you can’t get motivated to play in this game, then you’re in the wrong sport.”
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images