The recent public meltdown of former Tampa Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown during a game in New York have many questioning whether the NFL and other professional sports league show enough care and concern for athletes.
And many others have expressed disappointment – if not anger – when pointing out that athletes of color especially are mistreated and treated less than human.
During a January 2, 2022, game against the New York Jets, Brown removed his shirt, shoulder pads, and gloves and tossed them into the stands at MetLife Stadium.
Then, he ran through the end zone, raised his arms toward the crowd, and gave high-fives to stadium personnel as he exited. Tampa Bay Coach Bruce Arians immediately declared that Brown was “no longer a Buc.” Brown said an ankle injury prevented him from performing.
The team formally released Brown later, and the National Football League Players Association announced it would investigate findings that the Bucs injected Brown with a “powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the players association has warned against using.”
“As a clinician, my initial reaction was one of curiosity,” Dr. Tammy Lewis Wilborn, a board-certified licensed professional counselor who’s known as America’s No. 1 mental health and wellness expert, said during an appearance on the NNPA’s Let It Be Known live breaking news program.
“Unfortunately, when we’re talking about Black pain, it’s often minimized, scrutinized, and when it’s on display, penalized,” Dr. Wilborn asserted.
“One of the things concerning is that if Brown’s refusal to continue to play was his awareness of his pain and his need to advocate for himself, and the team didn’t respect and honor his concerns. I think that reflects a larger issue of how Black folks and how Black pain tends to be minimized,” Dr. Wilborn continued.