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  1. Whenever there’s a conflict, it’s very easy to assume that the one who runs away crying is the victim. I believe the national media assume Ben is the problem because Brown is the one crying. They look for ways to support their unfounded conclusion. The local media, who know the players better, see through the facade.

    Personally, I can’t think of even one reason Ben would be motivated to mistreat Brown, but not mistreat his linemen or Juju. When Ben got hurt in Oakland, he could’ve pointed out how badly Foster failed to block on the play. When the final drive failed in New Orleans, he could’ve ripped on Juju for fumbling. I get the feeling that Ben is very supportive, but is willing to tell it like it is, even in public, if he believes that saying it in private isn’t getting it done. I believe the smart money is on Ben as a great leader, and Brown, the maniacal narcissist, as one who goes ballistic anytime someone points out that he’s not the GOAT.

  2. Awesome piece Wendy! I couldn’t possibly agree more! Thank you for writing it.

    And Tina, as always, thank you too! 🙂

  3. I like it. And I agree. Stay aggressive!

    I obviously like the second scenario far better because the idea of losing a 2nd rounder is concerning to me. But I obviously don’t want the Bengals to nab him either (foiling our draft plan AGAIN!). It will be interesting to see how it plays out. And as much as I agree, I have already begun to prepare myself for draft day (#1) disappointment at the hands of some team that will swoop and wreck my day at the final count!

  4. Mike,
    I didn’t say that. I said that he lowered his trade value, but not his actual value. Trade value is what the Steelers were able to receive as compensation for trading him. Actual value is what Brown was able to receive as compensation for playing.

  5. I do agree that embarrassing your team to get them to dump you from unfavorable contracts may become a trend if teams don’t do something to stop it. I think the Steelers set a bad precedent by allowing Brown to get away with it. They should have forced him to honor his contract, or fined, suspended and sued him for breech of contract. If those options weren’t a reasonable course of action for them, I think the next CBA will contain changes that make this fiasco a thing of the past.

  6. Mike,
    I agree that Brown utilized social media to undermine his trade value. He embarrassed the Steelers with the things he broadcast. But because he was popular and famous due to his on the field performance, he could have just made those same statements to the national media and they would have reported it. The Steelers would have been at least as embarrassed and eager to trade him away. His actual value wasn’t lowered because he received quite a raise in pay and guaranteed money. So yes, I’m sure he could have lowered his trade value without social media. The national media would suffice.

    Raiders fans will pay to watch Brown because he’s a great player, not because he’s a popular train wreck on social media.

    I understand that endorsement contracts can be affected by social media popularity, but that has nothing to do with the negotiations we’re talking about between the Steelers, Brown and the Raiders.

    In the end, I guarantee the Steelers didn’t accept so little in trade because they were concerned that Brown had more followers on Twitter, or was Googled more than they were.

    • Thanks for the reply Imperial. I agree that his on the field performance is relevant and I at least briefly noted that in the article. I think social media and the internet can amplify the on the field talent to provide added financial value to teams (especially those with struggling attendance about time move to Vegas).

      I’m confused though that you agree that Brown undermined his trade value using social media but a few sentences later you say it didn’t lower his trade value. But at the end you say that didn’t get good value for him. If you think his use of social media affected his trade value some, but not substantially, then why did the Steelers only get a 3rd and 5th round pick for him?

      I agree that Steelers didn’t trade Brown solely because of his social media or internet presence, but trying to isolate either of those things from the national media is impossible in 2019. I didn’t cite the social media stats and Google trends to argue that they were the sole cause of the low value trade, but that they are at least part of the potential problem.

  7. Thanks a bunch for your comment Dave. I’m with you. I love the team first mentality. Isn’t that team based approach what makes the Steelers and the NFL so great? How many superbowl teams have tons of me-first players?

    I also found an interesting article the other day saying that the NFL hired social media coordinators in 2017 to help players grow their social media influence (https://www.google.com/amp/amp.awfulannouncing.com/nfl/nfl-hiring-people-monitor-players-social-media.html). I’m curious if those positions still exist. If so, do these coordinators encourage players to engage in positive interactions on social media or do they just try to help then grow their influence?

    Thanks again for your input Dave.

  8. Thanks for the comment Imperial Destroyer. First, I agree with you that it was a battle between Brown and the Steelers, and that was the main point of the second half of the article. But, the relative difference in trade value for Brown and OBJ drives home the point that the Raiders got a very good deal, if we’re looking at on the field performance alone.

    Another point is that Brown’s undesirable behavior between the Bengals game and the trade was likely reinforced by consistent media attention (social and otherwise). But, how did Brown win this battle? Social media. He publicly and consistently criticized Ben, Tomlin, and ownership, which undermined the Steelers’ leverage in trade talks. If he had a small social media following, do you think he could have gained that kind of leverage and essentially forced his own trade (and passed on going to the Bills)?

    And, if you think popularity was irrelevant, consider that the Raiders were the only legitimate trade partner for Brown and many believe part of their interest in signing him–despite his desire for a new deal and his off the field issues–was to help with their poor attendance at home games prior to moving to Vegas (see http://www.espn.com/nfl/attendance).

    Lastly, according to Forbes, Odell Beckham Jr. got a 25 million dollar Nike show deal last year in large part because of his social media presence (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/chasecrosby/2017/05/25/nike-just-paid-odell-beckham-jr-a-lot-of-money-because-of-you/amp/). That gives the player money and power not controlled by the team. Social media isn’t everything in these situations, but you have to admit it is increasingly relevant in the power struggle between star players and NFL teams.

    Thanks again for your comment and input.

  9. First of all, this was not a struggle between the Steelers and the Raiders, so the premise of the comparison of polls is tainted from the start. This was a struggle between the Steelers and Antonio Brown, and Brown clearly won by a landslide.
    Secondly, this battle between the Steelers and Brown had nothing to do with who had more followers on social media. Brown’s popularity on Instagram didn’t affect his trade value. This was a battle for compensation, and popularity didn’t change anything in that battle.

  10. I’m a Steelers fan. Not an AB fan. Not an LBell fan. Not a Big Ben fan. Not a JuJu fan. A Steelers fan. I love all those players when they have ONE thing in common with my team. When they don’t? I’m done. As soon as the NFL becomes an “individual” players conglomerating to form teams league? I’m out. I’m a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Players come & go. The Steelers are here to stay…

  11. I initially liked Mack Wilson as my favorite ILB. But the more I read, especially his shortcomings and his lackluster 2018, I came to prefer both Devins to him. Remember, Wilson was playing behind a great defensive line, and no one considers him as good of an athlete as the other two. Personally I prefer Bush because there aren’t as many concerns about his coverage abilities as White’s. But what do I know; I’m just a layman. Let’s just hope the Steelers do whatever necesary to get a good Inside Linebacker!

  12. Couldn’t agree more, Joe. This gives the Steelers someone with good hands who can take the top off the defense. First time since Plaxico.

  13. And now they’ve signed a solid WR who complements the group! These two signings are helping make it so they can draft the best available player, rather than reaching out of need. Kudos to Colbert!

  14. Slight misunderstanding. In negotiations, you always Ask for more than you want, so that when the low counter offer comes and you meet somewhere in the middle, that place is where you Want to be. If someone pays your asking price, either they were foolish to not negotiate you down, or your asking price was too low. That’s what I meant about never getting your asking price. When Bell rapped, “I’ma gonna need 17”, I believe that was just his asking price, and he knew he’d have to settle somewhat lower.
    Personally, I value Bell at around $8MM per season. Both DeAngelo Williams and James Conner did better with the same line, so I consider Bell largely a product of that offense. I’m happy that the competition overpaid for him, but I’m not happy for him. I feel like he did the Steelers wrong, and I’m happy to see him gone, to waste away in NY.

  15. I was gonna comment earlier, but I was too busy… LMAO.

    While it is true that I laughed at this news — I wasn’t surprised — I still understand what Bell was trying to do. I think he absolutely blew it and went about it the wrong way, but I get it. End of the day, I have nowhere near the negative feeling for him that I have for Mr. Big Head. I just think Bell thought too highly (READ: unrealistically in the NFL circa 2019) of himself. Oh well. He got his guarantee at least.

  16. I’m excited that the Steelers get an opportunity to actually look at some quality guys without feeling like they have to break the bank to do so, as well. And yeah, free agency for the Steelers is typically like watching grass grow, but several moves in and out of the organization has made it a much more interesting offseason so far.