Antonio Brown made his Patriots debut yesterday, catching four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. The new Patriot is also in the middle of a civil suit filed by his former trainer accusing Brown of sexual assault.
Brown has so far managed to avoid taking questions, but it seemed like he wouldn’t be able to avoid it after the game yesterday in Miami, which the Patriots predictably won in blowout fashion, 43-0. But Brown (and perhaps the team) had other ideas, as he was already out of the locker room before reporters were allowed in. In fact, there wasn’t much sign of him at all:
Antonio Brown is out of the locker room, his locker cleared out and the name plate taken down, before media was allowed into the locker room
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 15, 2019
As Mark Fischer pointed out in the New York Post, that means the Patriots violated the league’s media rules:
According to NFL media policy, teams “must ensure that name plates with players’ names and numbers are left in position until after the locker room has cleared of media.”
There is a 10-12 minute grace period before members of the media are permitted to enter the locker room following a game.
“I don’t know when [Brown] will talk to the media,” Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told a Fox affiliate in Miami. “That’s really up to him and the Patriots.”
If there’s any franchise that has shown a willingness to disregard NFL policies and dare the league to punish them for it, it’s New England, so this shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. The real question is: why? The inevitable conclusion to this chase sequence is Antonio Brown telling reporters that he’s not going to discuss an ongoing legal matter. Though, it is Antonio Brown; given his behavior this year, it’s entirely possible that the team and/or Brown’s reps decided that he couldn’t be trusted to simply cite an excuse and not address the issues.
Considering Brown’s social media performance earlier in the week, those fears may not be unfounded!
Here’s one portion of Antonio Brown’s live video on Instagram from the TB12 Center pic.twitter.com/oJhf1CbjgY
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) September 12, 2019
At a certain point, though, Brown is going to have to take questions. Even the Patriots can’t push the league’s rules that far.