The Bucs are declining comment on former receiver Antonio Brown’s latest round of allegations, including his claim the Bucs offered him $200,000 to seek mental health treatment.
Or more specifically, “go to the crazy house,” as Brown put it to HBO’s Bryant Gumbel.
Excerpts of Gumbel’s interview with Brown and his attorney, Sean Burstyn, were released earlier today. The interview airs in full on the season premiere of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel tonight at 10 p.m.
Brown was ordered off the Bucs’ sideline by head coach Bruce Arians, removing his shoulder pads and jersey as he exited MetLife Stadium, midway through the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s 28-24 victory over the Jets on Jan. 2. He was released a few days later.
In the interview with Gumbel, Brown flatly denies Arians’ assertion that the coach ordered him off after Brown complained about not getting the ball, instead insisting he told Arians he couldn’t re-enter the contest because of a hurt ankle.
Brown also says the team regularly gave him injections of the pain-killer Toradol for the ankle, including right before the Jets contest. Brown later claims in the interview the Bucs offered him $200,000 “to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they’re talking about.”
“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 tells 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 said the team was approached late Monday night by HBO regarding the interview but aren’t planning to comment on the allegations at this time.
Burstyn acknowledged to Gumbel a defamation lawsuit against the Bucs is possible.
“Your figures, give me a number,” Gumbel said.
“A whole lotta money. A whole lot,” Brown said. “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.”
Since his release, Brown has publicly trolled the Bucs following their 30-27 playoff loss to the Rams.
Moreover, his claims of consenting to Toradol injections arrive in the immediate wake of his apparent refusal to bypass COVID-19 vaccination. He was accused by a former live-in chef of trying to obtain a fake vaccination card and was suspended by the NFL for three games for “misrepresenting” his vaccination status.”
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