Be Professional, Fellas

AB is your problem now.

Jim Rome
September 12, 2019 - 9:30 am
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

USA Today

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Bill Belichick met with the media for the first time after the Antonio Brown lawsuit was filed and he handled it exactly the way you would expect him to handle it.

There may have been a time when Bill Belichick saying things like “We’re on to Cincinnati” was something that people thought was funny or cool. Or that it was just Classic HOOD, old man Bill just being locked in on football and always looking to the next thing.

But this isn’t that. One of your players, someone you just signed, has just been accused of three separate incidents of sexual assault. Saying you’re “working on Miami” doesn’t cut it here.

And just because everyone expected he would handle it this way doesn’t mean it’s okay when he does handle it this way.

Nobody would be expecting Belichick or any head coach or front office person in that situation to be completely open in a press conference like that.

There are ongoing legal issues that he can’t discuss, but there are questions that he can answer, and on top of that, he can deal with it in a way that that is professional and not the way that he did deal with it, which is frankly like an a-hole.

Like treating every question about the star you just signed who’s just been accused of sexual assault is somehow out of bounds or inappropriate.

This is your problem now and if you’re pissed off that it’s your problem, that’s fine. I get that. But it is your problem. And the only people you have to blame for it right now are yourselves.

Roughly 24 hours earlier, you were chastising the media for asking the same questions when Randy Moss was signed, now it’s time to answer some questions. I’m sorry if those questions are awkward or uncomfortable for you, but you don’t get to give a long statement about preparing for the Dolphins, grunt a few answers about Antonio Brown, snap at reporters, and then leave in a huff.

In other words: do your job. Is that what tell EVERYONE in the building?! DO. YOUR.  JOB. SO DO YOURS, HOOD.

Here’s a quick recap of events: Antonio Brown threatens to punch team official in Oakland. Antonio Brown is released in Oakland. Antonio Brown signs with New England. Antonio Brown is sued for sexual assault. Antonio Brown practices with the Patriots.

When that’s the timeline, there are going to be some questions.

Some of which you can legally answer, some of which you cannot. But all of which deserve more than the grunting and general smugness that has been applied to this whole process with Brown and the Patriots.

That smugness was weird he was signed and even weirder when he’s been accused of sexual assault.

And yes, there are questions that can be answered that would not mess with the ongoing legal issues, like the question of whether or not the team knew about this before they signed him.

Multiple reporters who are plugged into the league have reported that the Patriots were surprised by the lawsuit. Okay, fine. That would indicate that the Patriots or at least some inside the Patriots really want the world to know that they didn’t know about this before signing him.

Fine. Say that on the record. Put your name on that. Put your face on that. Make it official.

Because Brown’s agent said yesterday that “Antonio and I have been unfortunately anticipating this possibility” of a lawsuit. So if he said that he and his client were anticipating it, were the Patriots anticipating it as well? Did Brown’s agent not tell the Patriots? Did they not ask? Or did they ask and not care?

And Belichick wasn’t alone. Tom Brady was there to embarrass himself as well.

As with Belichick, it was exactly what you’d expect. Nothing. And yet it said a lot. You don’t get to pretend to be a great leader only in the good times. If you want a guy to tweet out #LFG or some other crap, he’s the man. If you want someone to answer tough questions, nah, not happening.

In fact, he’ll give a smart response like “Didn’t I just answer that?” And then try to pawn it off with “things that don't involve me, don't involve me.”

Uh, Tom? Thomas? Tommy? Didn’t you invite the guy to stay in your house? Wasn’t that the story? If that’s the story, and it’s true, Antonio Brown involves you. You’ve involved yourself with him and he’s involved with you. You can’t be all about the guy one minute and then claim that he doesn’t involve you another.

I’m surprised Brady didn’t say, “Antonio Brown? Never heard of him. Actually, you know what, the name sounds familiar, but I can’t quite place it.”

As with Belichick, I’m not expecting him to pour his heart and soul out at the mic, but don’t be so completely weird and disingenuous. Shock us. Be a leader here.

Acknowledge that it’s concerning news. Acknowledge that it looks really weird that you were 100 percent, no, 1000 percent, no, 1 million percent in on Antonio Brown. And now he’s been accused of sexual assault. Say something about how serious the situation is and how concerned you are for everyone involved.

Are you still one million percent in on him? Because if you are, say it. And if you aren’t, say that.

Don’t do what you did, which is completely duck out the back door at the first sign of trouble. How is it that the guy who is the smartest most knowledgeable quarterback ever, doesn’t know any words here?

The guy who tells everyone that he has all the answers to the test when he’s on the field, has no answers to some pretty basic questions off it. It’s weak. It’s cowardly. Honestly, that’s what it is.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater acted like a leader. He didn’t say much, but he showed a level of humanity and recognition of the gravity of the situation. Belichick and Brady treated it like it was a hassle and like the people asking legitimate questions were a hassle.

If Belichick didn’t bring Antonio Brown into the team and if Brady didn’t bring him into his house, allegedly, this isn’t their problem right now. But they did and it is.

So be real about it. Your problem is not with the people asking the questions, it’s with the answers you have to come up with. And the guy you brought in.