Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media Tuesday, and he addressed the Facebook Live video posted by Antonio Brown. The video included a postgame speech from Tomlin with what he described as “regrettable” language.
"The language on the video is regrettable because this platform we have is a precious and awesome thing,” Tomlin said. “The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, is something I personally embrace."
Among other things, Tomlin said on the video that the Steelers had “spotted those assholes a day and a half” of preparation. The Patriots ended up with a little more time to get ready for this Sunday’s AFC Championship because Pittsburgh’s game was pushed back to primetime due to winter weather in Kansas City.
Tomlin also said Tuesday that he wasn’t concerned about the video being a distraction for the team.
"I have absolutely no worries. We're in the AFC Championship,” Tomlin said. “I'm not worried about our team's ability to deal with potential distractions."
Tomlin was “bluntly honest” about Brown’s decision to post the video.
“It was foolish of him to do that. It was selfish of him to do that, and it was inconsiderate of him to do that,” Tomlin said.
Posting the video was a violation of NFL policy, but Tomlin said it was also a violation of team policy. Brown is aware that it was a violation, and he will be punished by the Steelers.
One of Tomlin’s concerns is that incidents like this overshadow the type of player Brown is.
“He's got to grow from this,” Tomlin said. “He works extremely hard. He's extremely talented but things get minimized. You wear on your teammates when they have to answer questions about things that aren’t preparation or football-related.”
Tomlin said that the gist of the conversation the team will have with Brown is that incidents like this don’t help him as a player.
“The reality is, those things don’t apply exclusively to Antonio,” Tomlin said. “It’s a global thing in regards to professional sports. I think that’s oftentimes why you see great players move around from team to team, and I definitely don’t want to be his story.”
Browns teammates weigh in
Brown’s teammates spoke to the media this week about the video, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he was “disappointed” in Brown.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that we’ve got to deal with right now,” Roethlisberger said on The Cook and Poni Show on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan. “That’s a sacred place where things are said and hugs and tears, and it’s kind of a special place. So a little disappointed with AB for that.”
Safety Mike Mitchell echoed Tomlin’s perspective and said the video and the associated fallout won’t be a distraction for the Steelers.
"It's the AFC championship,” Mitchell said, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “We're not getting distracted by anything like that."
On Monday, guard Ramon Foster said the language Tomlin used to describe the Patriots wasn’t necessarily inaccurate.
"As far as I'm concerned, everybody in this league is an a--h---, in my opinion," Foster said, according to Fowler. "You have to be to play this sport. Coaches don't become head coaches by being nice guys."
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made it clear that he wasn’t concerned about what the Steelers are doing on “InstaChat.”
Tomlin said he has not yet had the opportunity to speak to Brown about the incident, but that Brown will face discipline from the team, and almost certainly from the NFL, also. Any team discipline applied to Brown will be handled privately and in house, according to Tomlin.