Category Archives: Le’Veon Bell

Understanding the business of the NFL Offseason and Antonio Brown’s “Fake News”

By Jordan Moening

Jordan Moening is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a Sport Management Major with a Minor in Journalism. He is also a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio and is a huge lover of sports, mainly football, basketball, and soccer.

March 15, 2019

On March 10, 2019, Antonio Brown announced his intention of signing with the Oakland Raiders. Two days before his announcement, the Buffalo Bills were planning on signing him to their team. Antonio Brown quickly responded on the NFL’s Instagram by posting a comment saying, “Fake News.” This begs the question of how the business of the NFL operates during the offseason.

To start, the new league year for signing free agents technically started on March 13th. Since then, players have been getting their official new contracts. Free agency and the NFL draft are the two most important components of the off-season. Depending on the team, either one could be more important (If the team is rebuilding with younger talent, then it would be the Draft; if they are looking for an “all-in” year, they are looking to the Super Bowl). The real intrigue of free agency happened only a couple of days before the new league year opened. Teams need to make cap space for rookies and new players that they want to acquire. The best way to do that is to release a player and remove that player from the team’s payroll. Some teams sign players off of waivers after they have been released, and there are some trades between teams. The main trades that occur are between players and draft picks.

Some players have to make hard decisions about where they want to play. The decision is usually not as hard for very good football players like Antonio Brown. He can play for just about any team that he wants and get a big contract. Most teams hoping to acquire players need to look at their salary cap. Players that cut into the salary cap for a large amount of time cost a lot of money, and few players in the league are worth huge contracts that fill a lot of cap space, but Antonio Brown is worth it. According to NFL.com statistics, in 9 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has recorded 837 receptions, 11,207 yards receiving on 13.4 yards per catch, and 74 touchdowns (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). Those stats obviously make him one of if not the best receiver in football.

“Fake News.” The sports media tweeted, made an Instagram post, and put word out about the trade of Antonio Brown. In an interview with ESPN, NFL.com writer Grant Gordon posted quotes of Antonio Brown in an interview, “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want. I don’t even need the game, I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone, If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play. Another quote stated, “Obviously, I want the game, but I don’t need the game, it’s a difference” (Gordon, 2019, para 4). I personally feel that Brown is trying to make the game about money, instead of loyalty to try to stay with the Steelers and see if they can win championships together in Pittsburgh. Another example of a player leaving Pittsburgh was former teammate Le’Veon Bell who signed with the New York Jets and left Pittsburgh.

In the long run, the NFL is a business and players are going to choose where they want to play. They will ask for however much money they want, and if the player is very good and fits that team’s salary cap, then that team will make it happen. In Antonio Brown’s case, it’s not “Fake News” that the NFL Offseason is still very fun to follow.

References

Antonio Brown. (2019). NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/player/antoniobrown/2508061/careerstats

Gordon, G. (2019, March 3). Antonio Brown: ‘I don’t even have to play football.’ NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001020572/article/antonio-brown-i-dont-even-have-to-play-football

National Media Aims to Make Le’Veon Bell Bad Guy in Holdout Fiasco

Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a working towards getting a major in Sport Management and a minor in General Business. He is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports. He generally focuses on Baseball and Football at both the professional and collegiate levels.

Another week goes by as Le’Veon Bell still has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Being as good as he is, one would think that his teammates and fans would be incredibly eager to get him back. This might have been the case when the Steelers started 1-2-1; but after two big wins against the Falcons and Bengals, and two consecutive 100-yard, 2-TD rushing games from James Conner, fans in Pittsburgh are much less reluctant to beg for Bell to come back.

Le’Veon Bell is still of course the best running back in the league. Those involved with the Steelers have seemed to come to terms with the fact that chances are, they won’t have him on their team next year no matter when he comes back this year. Most fans have even gone a step further and are in hopes that he won’t come back at all. According to a poll surveyed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the largest newspaper in the Pittsburgh area, 66% of people don’t want him to come back (Cook, 2018). Ben Roethlisberger has also expressed his neutral stance on the topic (Gentille, 2018). While this may not completely be his fault, national media has tended to put the blame on Bell throughout this entire process.

At first, they reported the story as if he was a selfish person and wasn’t concerned with how his team would fare this year without him. While this may be true from a certain standpoint, it seems that it is rare for anybody in the national media to take Bell’s side throughout the holdout. The truth is that this entire issue has been a long time coming between Le’Veon Bell and his current team of five years.

Bell has previously expressed communication issues with the Steelers regarding a contract extension for the pro-bowl running back. These issues have dated back to the 2016 off-season after his rookie contract had expired. He has been tagged twice since then as the two sides have still been unable to reach an agreement on an extension. Near the end of last season, Bell made it known to the media that if the Steelers decided to tag him again, he would consider holding out or even retiring (Quinn, 2018). During this year’s training camp, he also made it clear multiple times that he would not play in the regular season without a long-term contract and a good amount of guaranteed money. The media still seemed to be surprised and disappointed when he didn’t sign his franchise tender before the season started, and they continue to feel the same way every week that has gone by since.

The fact still remains that Bell has been over-worked by the Steelers in the past and has continuously risked injury while playing a position that is arguably the most dangerous in an already dangerous sport. Continuing to play would be a huge risk for Bell without a long-term contract. We’ll see how long this holdout lasts, but I’d be willing to bet that Bell will continue to remain the bad guy in the eyes of the media until then.

 

References

Cook, R. (2018, October 15). Ron Cook: One Steeler ready for Le’Veon Bell’s return — James Conner. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2018/10/15/Ron-Cook-Steelers-running-back-James-Conner-welcome-back-Le-Veon-Bell-Deion-Sanders-Ben-Roethlisberger-ESPN/stories/201810160027

Gentille, S. (2018, October 23). Ben Roethlisberger has thoughts on ‘Coach Todd’ and Le’Veon Bell. Sort of. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/10/23/patrick-peterson-steelers-ben-roethlisberger-937-the-fan-leveon-bell-james-conner/stories/201810230110

Quinn, S. (2018, October 10). The unabridged timeline of Le’Veon Bell’s holdout. In 247sports.com. Retrieved from https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/ContentGallery/LeVeon-Bell-absence-timeline-121486548/#121486548_4