I suppose by now there's no overriding need to explain to your typical person how Cameo works. But since I have spent some time on the phone trying to explain to the Irish Rose's mom how she can set her DVR to record "60 Minutes" like the control tower radioing to the flight attendant how to land a jumbo jet in a '70s disaster movie, I'm in an explaining mood.
The person requesting tells you who it's for and gives you a few key personalized touches they'd like you to hit. And those bullet points are on the screen while you're recording, so you don't have to memorize. It just so happens that Antonio Brown is at the top of my Cameo feed's Trending list, for obvious reasons. And the user who spent $349.99 to get him to send a message to EricSean wanted AB to know his friend loves what he did to the Bucs, is curious about Brown's tastes in ... well, browneyes, and is an avowed Bruce Arians hater.
“Hey Eric, I know you’re huge friends of mine and loved what happened the other day. But I want to tell you…[pauses for dramatic effect] a moment of silence for your greatness, your wellness, your appreciation. Integrity is important. Respect is important. What we represent and stand for is important. Eric, continue to be you. Continue to be free to be you, and not let other people have you any kind of way. Have some respect and consideration for yourself.”
What a time to be alive. When you can have one of the highest profile athletes of the last 10 years create an all time controversy with one of the most memorable meltdowns of all time, going full Ned Braden in front of the world:
And not three days later, he's making 350 bucks by giving a shoutout to a guy who not only loved the stunt, but who hates the coach he stunted it on. It's Reggie Jackson coming at Billy Martin in the Fenway dugout for the social media age. Only people would've paid $10,000 to hear what Reggie had to say. And he wouldn't have danced around it the way Brown does here.
So this is how we find out what Brown is thinking. That stripping to the waste and dancing his way through the endzone to the tunnel while his team was in the huddle wasn't a meltdown at all. It was about integrity. It was about respect. It was about having some consideration for yourself. Got it. Not the most conventional way to express those things. But then again, he's never been a big on the conventional approach.
I mean, sure you can argue that sending a Cameo to a guy who loves that you walked out on your team (as well as $1 million in easily reached incentives) and hates the coach you walked out on is the opposite of respect. But that is by no means the weirdest part of this story.
The weirdest part is that, as of the time I'm clicking SAVE on this post, Antonio Brown still works for Bruce Arians. A full three days after Arians insisted Brown was no longer a Buc:
While it's naturally tempting to laugh at the idea that anyone would pick Brown up for a playoff run after the fact he's up and quit on the Steelers, Raiders and now Bucs, and forced the Patriots hand after just one game, that doesn't reflect the reality of the NFL:
To requote something from an old NFL coach that I've used many times before in situations like this, "In this business, we're all whores to talent."
You might ask the obvious question, "What's a guy have to do to make himself unemployable in that league?" And the answer is not "Pull a nutty. Take off his pads. Tear off his shirt and run out of the tunnel in the middle of a game." It's merely, "Suck." Brown sucks in the human sense, but not in the wide receiver sense.
There are currently 19 teams with either one of the 14 playoff berths or a chance at one. We shouldn't be shocked to hear that 10 of them would sign Brown within minutes of Tampa releasing him. In spite of everything. Like a girl meeting a good looking rebel with a troubled past who's bad news. But she wants him anyway because she thinks through the power of her love and support, she can fix him. Do you think for one
hot cold second that Green Bay wouldn't love to line him up opposite Pierre Desir when they inevitably face Tampa in the playoffs? Guess again.
Right now the Bucs are reportedly meeting with the league to figure out how they can rid themselves of Brown without letting him sign with a rival. And by all accounts, his side is playing the injury card, arguing Tampa's coaches tried to put him in a game where his ankle was too banged up to play. (Though 100% fine for hopping and dancing across the field.) So it's probably too complicated to just suspend him for Conduct Detrimental.
But also don't rule this out, crazy as it sounds. The Buccaneers might just simply reinstate him. Which is to say, dress him for Sunday, since they never un-instated him. All they've done is have Arians say into a microphone that "He's no longer a Buc." Which is as legally binding as Brown's forged vaccination card. Don't doubt Tom Brady's influence to say he wants his old houseguest back on the line of scrimmage. His coach's wishes be damned, he has no intention of trying to win his 8th ring throwing to Cyril Grayson. Which would be the wildest scenario of all. As well as the greatest example of whoring yourself out for talent in recent memory.
So stay tuned. We may not have heard the last of Antonio Brown. Not by a long road.