TAMPA, Fla. — Former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown said his recent sideline outburst against the New York Jets that resulted in his dismissal from the Buccaneers, and previous incidents he has been involved in, have been miscategorized as “mental health issues.”
In a preview of an episode of “I Am Athlete” that will be posted in full on Jan. 24, Brown tells former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall that he’s not suffering from mental health issues.
“Everyone in the world got a different form of reactions of what happened to me. And it’s all based upon where you from, how you feel, and no one really gonna know that regardless of who you is,” Brown said. “The thing with football players, mental health and CTE is this: These guys are willing to do whatever it take to make some obligated gain. But in the midst of those gains, along that journey, they’re being mistreated, there’s a lot of stuff that went on that may not have been handled right.
“And then you started your career on a high. It’s like a roller coaster. You go up, and then as soon as it ’bout to go down, everyone leave. … If we all players and we all saying we care about mental health, why every time something happens bad or someone reacts, ‘Aw, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with his mental health,'” Brown asked. “There’s nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me, ‘Get the f— out of here.’ I’m not passive-aggressive.”
Brown and his attorney Sean Burstyn have claimed that the Bucs attempted to mislabel his outburst as a mental health issue and wanted Brown to receive counseling. Brown claims his ankle was too injured to play on, and that Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told him to leave the field.
Since his release by the Buccaneers earlier this month, Brown has shifted his focus to his music career and rehabbing his ankle, which will require surgery. He indicated he does want to continue playing football next year. He released a music single, “Pit Not the Palace.” He appeared courtside for a Brooklyn Nets-Memphis Grizzlies game two weeks ago. He has taken part in photo shoots and has linked up with pals Kanye West, Floyd Mayweather and Madonna.
In the past, though, he has acknowledged seeking mental health treatment. His father, Eddie Brown, told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Brown was undergoing therapy after his release by the New England Patriots in 2019, which coincided with two sexual assault allegations.
Brown has also indicated that he supports mental health treatment. In an interview with ESPN in February 2020, Brown was asked whether he needed mental health help, to which he responded, “We all need mental help.”
At that time, the circumstances of Brown’s life were different. He’d been arrested and charged with felony burglary and battery charges. The mother of three of his children, Chelsie Kyriss, posted on Instagram at the time that she and their children were focused on building a new life “free from any impulsive, reckless and unhealthy” behaviors. She added that her hope is Brown “will get help and seek the mental health treatment that he so desperately needs so that he can be the father all of his children need and deserve.”
He and Kyriss reached reconciliation, and she and their children were on hand when Brown and the Bucs defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Brown also underwent anger management counseling, and his probation was terminated one year early for good behavior. On numerous occasions before his departure from the Bucs, both general manager Jason Licht and Arians described him as a “model citizen.”
Arians said of Brown’s departure, “Yeah, it was very hard. I wish him well. I hope, if he needs help, [that he] gets some. It’s very hard because I do care about him.”
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