Cauley: For Antonio Brown, Stability Must Take Precedence Over Football

Sep 15, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 43-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown was back in the news. Brown pleaded no contest to the charges stemming from an incident with a truck driver from a moving company. As a result of this, Brown will have to perform 100 hours of community service and attend a 13-week anger management program.

Brown’s transgressions from last and this year are well-documented, and there is a lot to scoff at. Mixed in is a sexual assault allegation, a domestic dispute with the mother of his children, and a misdemeanor battery. This is not even including the erratic behavior on Twitter or making relatively bad rap music.

It’s hard to blame people for souring on Brown, but it’s fair to say that these people need to take a step back and think. Is it possible that his transgressions and Twitter outbursts were a cry for help? Nobody knows, but he seems to finally be getting the help he desperately needs.

Brown has been quiet for the past couple of months, which truthfully can be the best thing possible for him. With that being said, let’s look at Brown from the human aspect of things.

Football fans can be criticized for failing to separate the football player and the human being. The perfect example is the kneeling for the national anthem, but that is a different discussion for a different day. It would be correct to assume that Brown will never get most fans’ approval to be back in the league, and to an extent, that is okay.

What is not okay is not rooting for his recovery.

It would be extremely irresponsible to assume that Brown has a neurogenerative issue. However, it is thoroughly documented that football is damaging to the brain and body. This occurs with most players in retirement, and in some rare cases, while currently playing at any level. Considering there has been much speculation about Brown’s mental state, it is important to rally behind him.

There has been one man that has been instrumental in trying to get Brown back on the right track: Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. In numerous posts on Sanders’s Instagram, he is shown working out with Brown and talking to him about wisdom. Sanders was definitely a diva in his playing days, but time has treated his mind very well from a wisdom standpoint. Generally, you would want advice from someone who has been in the limelight for so long and has handled it well.

So, that poses a question to football fans everywhere. Will you be a Deion Sanders in terms of support, or will you opt to not root for his mental recovery?

Mental health is such a big deal in today’s society, and for our roles as humans, we need to take it seriously. Everyone’s struggle is different, but that does not mitigate the level of struggle from an individual. Football has to be second for Brown; getting mentally right has to be first.

And he needs the public’s support.

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