Speaking with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports with his lawyer Sean Burstyn at his side, Antonio Brown claimed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered him money to seek mental health treatment to help perpetuate the narrative it was the former All-Pro’s mental state that led to his dismissal from the team and made him “not reliable to do a good job on the field.”
“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 talking about,” Brown told Gumbel. He later added, “I have mental wealth.”
“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,” Burstyn clarified to Gumbel. “And we were specifically told, in writing, by the general manager (Jason Licht) twice, ‘Don’t spin this any other way.’”
Bucs spokesman Nelson Luis declined comment to The Tampa Bay Times, but the team may have to say something if Burstyn files the defamation lawsuit he hinted at to Gumbel.
“A whole lotta money. A whole lot,” Brown said of a potential settlement. “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.”
While it’s certainly possible Brown is telling the truth or some version of it, it’s also worth noting he has plenty of animosity towards the Bucs and publicly trolled the team following their 30-27 playoff loss to the Rams on Sunday.
This story isn’t going away anytime soon as Brown is set to appear on CBS tomorrow morning to discuss his situation with former NFL wideout Nate Burleson. In a pre-released clip, Brown was asked if he was ever diagnosed with a mental health issue. “I never had a mental health diagnosis, you know what I mean?” he says. “I never had an issue or problem. I don’t take pills. I just got a high IQ.”
Brown went on to say that he tried consulting with a therapist via the NFL, but that it didn’t really work for him. “I don’t got time to consult with random people I don’t know about my mental space or how I look at things. Most of the people from different forms of the world. Like, I’m from the pit. Most of the people we talk to, they from the palace. So how your lenses look at life is not how mines is.”
Well, that clears things up. If Brown does want or need help now or in the future, hopefully he’s able to get it.