Peter King takes his football voting privileges seriously. Very seriously. Like, maybe just a little too seriously.
The longtime football writer, who currently works for NBC Sports, went on “PFT Live” on Friday morning to talk about, among other things, the situation involving Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The wideout made news last week when he was made inactive prior to a must-win game for the Steelers after a reported incident with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Earlier this week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the decision to sit Brown came after he went off the radar Friday into Saturday.
Asked whether he thought Brown — who may or may not want to be traded — quit on the team, Tomlin simply replied with “you can describe it however you want to describe it.”
As for King, he recently filled out his AP All-Pro ballot and originally had Brown listed as a first-team selection. For all of his issues real or perceived, Brown remains a generational wideout and this season was no different. He caught 104 passes for nearly 1,300 yards with a league-leading 15 touchdowns in just 15 games.
However, as King learned more about the Brown saga, he had a change of heart, he told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
“As far as his situation and what happened, I think it’s absolutely outrageous,” King said. “Outrageous to the point that when I submitted (my ballot) on Monday before any of this happened, Antonio Brown was one of the three receivers I listed on the team along with (DeAndre) Hopkins and Tyreek Hill.
“And when this happened, I sent an email to the AP, I said I may change my ballot. I have until Wednesday at noon, hang on. So I thought about it, and I said I can’t in good conscience put a guy who took the equivalent of 6 percent of the season and flushed it down the toilet when the Steelers were in a playoff implication game.”
So King removed Brown from his ballot, instead giving the nod to New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas.
“I’m very serious about these votes, and they mean a lot to me,” King added, stating the obvious. “If a guy takes 6 percent of his season and purposely flushes it down the toilet, I can’t vote for him for anything. He wouldn’t be among my top 10 or 20 receivers for the season.”
Now, this isn’t King’s first voting controversy. As some may recall, King infamously and rather stubbornly stuck to his guns when it came to Hall of Fame voting for Darren Sharper, the disgraced former All-Pro safety who admitted to multiple rapes and currently is serving time in prison. King repeatedly insisted that Hall of Fame voters are urged to base their vote strictly on football and a player performed on the field.
It’s apples and oranges to an extent — he took Brown’s All-Pro vote away because Brown wouldn’t go on the field — but that’s unlikely to stop anyone from further piling on King.
King’s decision to withhold Brown also didn’t make much of a difference. He received just two votes, and there are 50 voters.