Antonio Brown Claims Bucs Tried to Pay $200k For Him to Blame His Game Exit on Mental Health Issues. Says He Was Shot Up With Toradol to Play.
In a press release from HBO previewing an upcoming episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Antonio Brown tells the anchor that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization through its reps offered him $200,000 to commit himself to mental health treatment and sit on the sidelines. His attorney Sean Burstyn says he was told not to “spin” the story “any other way,” in writing by the team’s General Manager.
Brown, who says he turned down the offer to feign mental health problems, claims he was fired by Head Coach Bruce Arians after refusing to play in a game against the New York Jets due to an ankle injury.
Brown told the television show, that the Bucs shot him up with Toradol, a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug used to relieve moderate to severe pain, on multiple occasions. Brown said the team used the drug to treat his pain and accuses the team of pressuring him to play injured. While Toradol is not a narcotic nor addictive, its use can result in serious side effects if not used properly. Brown claimed on social media he was given the drug in a dangerous manner, likely referring to dose or frequency, according to sources.
Brown’s attorney said he has evidence that the team “regularly” injected Brown with Toradol so that he couldn’t feel the damage that he was doing to his ankle.
Brown, who sustained an ankle injury, weeks prior to storming off the field and being cut from the team, claims his ankle was still seriously injured. His attorney told League of Justice that an MRI, the following Monday showed bone fragments and injury requiring surgery.
Brown told Gumbel that when he refused to go back in the game due to the pain, Arians told him to “Get the eff off the field.”
Later, Arians claimed that Brown was told to leave because he refused to play due to not getting the ball.
Brown called that assertion from Arians a “flat out lie.” Brown said he knew he would get the ball because Tom Brady is his guy and he wasn’t worried about it.
Brown and his attorney confirmed what League of Justice recently reported, that they are planning on filing a potential defamation suit against the Buccaneers for trying to blame Brown’s exit on mental health issues, which according to the legal team could damage Brown’s ability to get hired by another team. The team is also mulling other legal claims. Some fall under the CBA, including accusing the team of cutting Brown for refusing to play injured and possibly medical malpractice claims related to the use of pain treatments. However, other claims such as intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation could be filed in a court of law.
Brown says he wants a “whole lotta money” from the team for the embarrassing episode. His attorney claims to have evidence to backup Brown’s claims that Arians knew Brown’s ankle was injured and pressured him to play anyway.
Excerpts and a clip from the interview, set to air tonight, January 25th at 10pm ET on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel are below.
BRYANT GUMBEL: According to the team– you didn’t say anything to either Coach Bruce Arians or the team’s medical personnel– on– during the game or on the sidelines on January 2nd. True or false?
ANTONIO BROWN: False.
SEAN BURSTYN: We actually, Bryant, have documentary and contemporaneous evidence that Antonio did tell Bruce Arians that his ankle was hurt on the sideline. Because the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interviewed Bruce Arians the Sunday night shortly after the game and texted our camp the notes from that interview, which state that Bruce Arians told the GM that Antonio complained on the sideline about his ankle injury. So there’s no question. I think both sides, at least privately, are in agreement that Antonio’s ankle was injured and he directly told the team about that.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Arians says, that when he told you to go in the game you said nothing about pain or injury. True?
ANTONIO BROWN: Untrue. Man, I told him my ankle. And he said, “What?” He said, “Get the fuck outta here, you’re done.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: He said you said, quote, “I ain’t playing. I ain’t gettin’ the ball.” Is that a lie?
ANTONIO BROWN: No, no. That’s a lie.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Flat out lie.
ANTONIO BROWN: Flat out lie.
BRYANT GUMBEL: So what possessed you then to do what you did?
ANTONIO BROWN: You know, what would you do? I was hurt. At that point, you know, I don’t wanna wear your equipment. I don’t wanna be affiliated with the logos and, you know, I– I just took it off and– and got outta there.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Given your history– is it any wonder that most observers think your arguments lack both credibility and sympathy?
ANTONIO BROWN: I mean, this ain’t about no past and no credibility. It’s about a player getting treated– getting treated unfairly and unjustly.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Prior to the game on January 2nd, the game against the New York Jets– at the Meadowlands– were you given shots of Toradol?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely. Right before the game I was given Toradol.
SEAN BURSTYN: We actually have, Bryant, in the medical records that we’ve reviewed, evidence that the team regularly injected Antonio with Toradol. So he couldn’t feel the damage that he was doing to his ankle until it got to that threshold point where he told his coach, “Coach, I can’t play because of my ankle.” And the coach’s response to that was, “Get the eff off the field.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: Okay, so– so the Bucs shot you with Toradol in the week before– before the Carolina game, correct?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely.
BRYANT GUMBEL: They shot you again before the Jets game, correct?
ANTONIO BROWN: Absolutely.
BRYANT GUMBEL: And Arians claims that at halftime then you were upset about not getting ball– more balls thrown your way. True or false? Is he lying?
ANTONIO BROWN: False. it’s not worryin’ about the ball. Tom Brady is my guy. He’s the reason I’m on Tampa Bay, so I know I’m gonna get the ball.
ANTONIO BROWN: Yeah, these guys at Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they’re talking about.
BRYANT GUMBEL: They offered you $200,000 for what?
SEAN BURSTYN: The off– the offer was Antonio would basically sit on the sidelines, go on some list– and commit himself to some form of intensive mental health treatment. And we were specifically told, in writing, by the general manager, twice, “Don’t spin this any other way.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: Are you suggesting–that a defamation lawsuit is– is possible?
SEAN BURSTYN: Defamation comes to mind.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Your figures, give me a number.
ANTONIO BROWN: A whole lotta money. A whole lot. It’s– it’s totally disrespect, man. You know, it’s– mental health is an important key in the world, so to drag people along and play on people’s mental health, you know, it’s– it’s unfair and unfortunate.