Speaking weeks after he removed his uniform and shoulder pads, waved to the crowd and walked off the field in the middle of the Bucs’ game against the New York Jets, Brown said the team tried to send him to the “crazy house.”
“These guys at the Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they were talking about,” Brown said on the season debut of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” which aired on Tuesday.
Brown’s attorney Sean Burstyn explained: “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, and we were specifically told in writing by the general manager twice: ‘Don’t spin this any other way.’”
Burstyn also added: “To the extent any of that is coming from a spin that Antonio had a spontaneous mental episode, it’s resentful and it’s hurtful and it’s a disservice to people who do suffer from mental health challenges. We all have our difficulties.”
When asked by Gumbel whether Brown thinks he needs mental health help, Brown responded: “I have mental wealth. I know a lot of people may not understand me, know how I look at things or don’t know how I react to emotional things, but it’s not for them to understand me.
“I’ve got a beautiful family, kids and people all across the world that look up to me. And there’s no reason I’m in this position at this point.”
Brown previously said in a statement that he left the game because of an ankle injury. He said the team knew about his injury, something the Bucs have denied.
Brown also told Gumbel that head coach Bruce Arians is lying when he says he wasn’t told about Brown’s injured ankle during the Jets game.
When asked about the accusations, the team referred CNN to previous statements released on Brown — none of which addressed the payment for mental health treatment.
Brown was released by the Bucs shortly after the incident.
In the days following the incident, Arians claimed that Brown left the field because he was angry about not getting the ball enough in his eyes. Brown, however, disputed those claims.
“I’m not worried about the ball,” Brown said. “Tom Brady is my guy. He’s the reason I’m on Tampa Bay, so I know I’m gonna get the ball.”