Antonio Brown can’t leave JuJu Smith-Schuster alone
Antonio Brown doesn’t know how to take yes for an answer.
He got what he wanted -- a one-way ticket out of Pittsburgh and a new contract from the Raiders. But he continues to weaponize social media against former teammates, shifting his attention from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
In his latest Instagram misadventure, Brown posted a screenshot of a DM he received from Smith-Schuster in November 2015. “What’s up AB?” Smith-Schuster said at the time. “I’m a receiver at the University of Southern California. I appreciate all your work. Your [sic] a great man on and off the field. Do you have any tips that can help take my game to the next level? Thanks man.”
Brown added as his comment to the image a microphone emoji with the message "#OnToTheNext.”
None of this makes any sense. When Smith-Schuster sent the message to Brown, Smith-Schuster was still 18 years old and largely unproven as a player. He was earnest about trying to improve, and he approached Brown with deference and respect.
The problem for Brown is that Smith-Schuster became very proven as a player. And Brown has allowed envy and fear to consume him, because all of a sudden mirror mirror on the wall has made it clear to Brown that, as his star inevitably fades, Smith-Schuster’s is ascending.
It really is that simple. Brown felt threatened by Smith-Schuster, because eventually the Steelers would have chosen Smith-Schuster over Brown. So Brown forced the issue, making it look like he wanted out before the Steelers initiated the divorce.
Amazingly, Brown can’t let it go, even though Smith-Schuster is no longer competing directly with Brown. Brown knows that people will compare his performance to Smith-Schuster’s, and Brown likely is concerned that Smith-Schuster will perform better than Brown in 2019, and beyond.
That continues to gnaw at Brown, eventually compelling him to lash out in a way that makes him look petty and small. It will continue until someone becomes willing and able to get Brown to realize that he needs to stop digging.