By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Antonio Brown has not been a particularly sympathetic figure over the past seven days. That is, to everybody but his own lawyer.
Brown’s lawyer, Sean Burstyn, fired off eight tweets on Sunday morning, insisting that his client was improperly treated by the Buccaneers following Brown’s midgame departure from the team.
Burstyn accused the Buccaneers of concocting a “bogus scheme to engineer a way to cut AB” by demanding that he see a specific surgeon for evaluation. According to Burstyn, Brown’s camp was in contact with the doctor about setting up a time that worked for both parties when the team announced the formal release of Brown.
“Knowing they can’t stand by Bruce Arians’ decision to cut AB for refusing to play through an injury, the Bucs formally claim to have fired AB for refusing to show up to a doctor’s appointment,” Burstyn tweeted. “But that’s misleading because the appt was being rescheduled to later the same day.”
Burstyn said the Buccaneers were “unusually perverse” to use a doctor as a pawn.
“The Bucs did this because they know that Coach Arians’ on-the-field termination of AB was degrading, inhumane, abusive, and unlawful,” Burstyn said. “So they tried covering it up using their latest dirty trick: ‘Surprise attack’ medical care that they [did not] reasonably plan for AB to receive. This was pure gamesmanship to create a pretextual termination. All Antonio did was ask to be seen at a reasonable hour by a doctor with current medical records. When AB spoke up about his health this week, he was fired. On the field, then on Twitter.”
The Bucs have used AB’s past to get out of the jam they put themselves in last Sunday. It’s the kind of manipulation that made Antonio write “I do not understand how people publicly claiming to be concerned about my mental health can do these things to me in private.” 8/8
— Sean Burstyn (@seanburstyn) January 9, 2022
Burstyn responded to one person who questioned the timing of Brown’s medical appointment, and he stated plainly: “I understand you come to this with skepticism, but slow your roll. The Bucs are in the wrong.”
Burstyn may have a case if not for quite literally everything else that happened in the past week.
This was a game where Brown walked off the field early, skipping the team’s pregame huddle at midfield:
AB was already trippin pre-game… pic.twitter.com/l5789jRIxS
— C.J. (@MrBucNRight) January 6, 2022
Then at halftime, after he had been one of the team’s leading receivers, he apparently got so upset about his “lack of targets” that teammates needed to calm him down. If his ankle injury was such a problem, then targets probably wouldn’t have been his major concern.
Likewise, considering that Brown’s focus during the week was on having his incentives guaranteed, there’s a believable backstory to the “lack of targets” being the source of his frustration on Sunday. The fact that Brown has since gone on a rant on a podcast about being on a “prove-it” deal shows that he still is bothered by having those incentives.
And of course, hitting those incentives would have been a cinch for Brown if he hadn’t gotten himself suspended by using a fake vaccination card. Even though proving one’s vaccination status would be incredibly easy, Burstyn decided to state publicly that Brown was in fact vaccinated. The receiver simply accepted the three-game suspension, losing the game checks and the opportunity to hit incentives that came with it.
“Instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make the most of this time by treating his ankle injury,” Burstyn said at the time.
So really, despite Burstyn’s claims, it’s rather difficult to deem anybody responsible for Antonio Brown’s current situation other than Antonio Brown himself.