Brown clearly wasn’t a fan of that analysis — evidenced by the tweet AB fired off Thursday challenging the outspoken talking head to a verbal spat — and Smith defended himself Friday on ESPN’s “First Take” by voicing concern over the situation and offering a “very, very important message” to athletes in general.
“First of all, it’s not going to be a fired-up conversation on my part, because I’m at a point where I feel incredibly sorry for what I’m witnessing take place in the life of Antonio Brown,” Smith said. “He’s clearly not all there. He’s all over the place emotionally, we all know that. Some have speculated they think he has CTE and he’s suffering from that right now. We don’t know. I don’t know that. But I know that he doesn’t seem to have been the same since nearly getting decapitated by Vontaze Burfict and looking like rigor mortis was kicking in right on the turf, for crying out loud. What a devastating hit he suffered, and we don’t know what kind of residual effects that may have had on him.
“As it pertains to him coming at me and talking along the lines of ‘we can speak,’ there have been several opportunities in the past where Antonio Brown has had an opportunity to speak to me. He has passed. Also, he has passed in terms of blocking me on social media — I was never following him — but I guess he didn’t want me seeing any of his stuff, either, as if I care. Because I don’t.
“In the end, I think that it’s incredibly important that I remind all of the folks in the world of sports of this very, very important message, and coming from me directly, and that’s this: I don’t get paid to talk to you. I get paid to talk about you. I am the one who extends myself by looking to speak to players, because I always want them to know I’m going to hear their perspective. And even if I disagree with it, they can rest assured that if they give me their perspective, I will make sure to accurately depict what that perspective is over the national airwaves, because I believe that’s the fair thing to do. And I’m gonna always put that front and center. I don’t have to entertain the nonsense that’s going on with Antonio Brown, because Antonio Brown has clearly engaged in a lot of nonsensical things over the last year.”
To say Brown is unpredictable, especially on social media, would be an understatement. You simply never know what you’re going to get from the All-Pro wideout on a day-to-day basis, and that could be one of the reasons — along with the NFL’s investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct — that teams seemingly have shown little interest in signing Brown in wake of his September release from the New England Patriots.
Smith more or less took the high road in not firing back at Brown, who raised eyebrows Monday by live streaming a verbal altercation he had with police and Chelsie Kyriss (with whom he shares three children) outside of his Florida residence. Smith, like many others, believes Brown is dealing with serious mental issues and needs to seek help.
“I also am mindful of the fact that for me to pounce on him right now would be an exercise of cruelty, because I know that brother is not right. I don’t care what anybody says,” Smith said. “Look at what is transpiring with him. He doesn’t deserve our ire. He doesn’t deserve our fury. He does not deserve our insults. Right now, what he deserves is our concern, because something appears to be wrong with him.”
All told, it’s hard to imagine Smith approves of Brown’s potential foray into boxing.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images