Antonio Brown reportedly ‘at odds’ with Ben Roethlisberger over national anthem
Antonio Brown made headlines in Week 4 when he threw a temper tantrum on the sideline over Ben Roethlisberger missing him on what could have been a long touchdown, but the star receiver’s frustration with his quarterback reportedly began long before that play.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Brown was upset with Roethlisberger and the team over the way they handled the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Sources told La Canfora that Brown felt strongly about kneeling in protest during the anthem, but Roethlisberger was apparently the one behind the decision to remain in the tunnel and avoid the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” altogether.
When Roethlisberger didn’t throw to a wide open Brown, the receiver reportedly felt the quarterback was intentionally not looking his way because of the tension between the two. Here’s more:
Roethlisberger spearheaded a decision to reverse course and have the players remain in the tunnel rather than on the sidelines as originally intended, which was the topic of an emotional team meeting the following day. During that meeting, sources said, Brown expressed his displeasure with how Roethlisberger and others handled the matter, and there was some lingering resentment through the week.
Sources said Brown has felt strongly the urge to kneel in protest during the anthem, but the Steelers have been in unison standing or remaining off the field during the playing of it. Sunday, when the quarterback did not throw to him early in the game,when he was wide open for a possible TD, Brown took it personally and believed it was related to his recent dispute with Roethlisberger, according to the sources, which led to his sideline blow-up.
Roethlisberger and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said publicly that Brown’s sideline outburst was unfortunate, and Brown has since apologized for slamming a cooler and slapping a coach’s hand away from him.
The Steelers hoped to avoid becoming part of the national anthem story by not taking the field, but it appears the issue has still been very significant for the team. Between Brown’s frustrations and the way one player chose to do his own thing, Pittsburgh has had to deal with plenty of drama.