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.