ANTONIO BROWN IS NOT A GUY THE RAVENS “NEED IN THEIR LOCKER ROOM”
BY ADAM GREENE
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the league’s most dynamic players. He’s coming off an MVP season and landed on the cover of EA’s Madden 21 video game. He’s also just 23. A kid, really, without much actual life experience which explains why he’s publicly advocating for his team to sign suspended wide receiver and alleged sexual assaulter Antonio Brown.
And it’s also why his head coach, John Harbaugh, is approaching the idea with kid gloves as to not shoot Jackson down thoroughly in public.
It all hit the news Wednesday, July 29, when Jackson began to openly lobby for Baltimore to add the talented, troubled and allegedly dangerous wideout to the roster. If you notice that I keep using the word “allegedly” when discussing crimes and sexual assault, know that it’s because I have to. Legally. It’s part of the job.
Jackson worked with Brown this offseason, privately. He spoke to ESPN about the former All-Universe wideout and his desire to see him added to the Ravens’ roster.
“Around us, he’s a great guy. He’s cool, down-to-earth guy,” Jackson told ESPN. “He’s passionate about the sport of football. He was working and you can tell … he’s going to go 24/7. Prior to the workout, he lifted. We go out there, throwing routes, and after that, he lifted some more. I was like, ‘there’s no quit in this guy.’ …”He’s the type of guy we need in our locker room and I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room. It’s a brotherhood going on … none of that outside noise. We worry about each other, we worry about what we have going on. We want to win. I can tell in him he wants to win, We want to play ball.”
Make no mistake about it. Jackson is wrong. Brown is not “the type of guy (they) need in (their) locker room.” He is a cancer and has been on two consecutive teams, at one point threatening to punch Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock. He’s been nothing but a problem in spite of his talent, which arguably might be the best in the sport. At worst, he’s a Top Five wide receiver and that’s the only reason anyone is still discussing a possible NFL return for Brown.
While he was a model citizen with the New England Patriots, his stint there lasted just a couple of weeks. There was not time for his malignancy to take hold and grow.
But here’s the real and ultimate problem. Brown is currently suspended by the NFL as they investigate allegations of sexual assault, rape and threatening messages to the alleged victim, trainer Brittany Taylor.
While there could be some legal lawyering and settlements regarding the civil case attached to the alleged crime (and the eventual denial of any rape or sexual assault), there can be no denying the actual texts allegedly sent from brown to Taylor, now a part of the public record.
In those texts, the sender (allegedly Brown) admits to masturbating on Taylor while she was asleep on his couch. If those texts are proven to be from Brown, there is no argument to his innocence. No settlement and legal gag orders matter. He should be permanently banned from the NFL (as well as serve a prison term) and there’s no logical, moral or compelling reason to let him back in.
But you know who definitely couldn’t take the chance on signing an alleged sexual predator to their roster? The Baltimore Ravens. Their recent history, specifically concerning Ray Rice, would preclude that from ever happening.
Lamar Jackson is a kid, enamored with the talent and charm of a player he watched as a child. But it’s time to grow up. Just because a guy is nice to you and been fun to hang out with doesn’t mean he’s innocent of that which he’s been accused.