Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown issued an apology on Jan. 17 for posting a Facebook Live video from the team's locker room following the 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 15.
In the note on Twitter, Brown apologized to head coach Mike Tomlin and his teammates for breaching NFL rules and allowing his actions to overshadow this week's preparations in advance of the AFC Championship Game:
"I'm human," Brown added on Jan. 18, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I make mistakes. As a man, I own up to my mistakes. I think people know what I stand for and what I represent."
Brown would not say if he has a contract with Facebook or whether he was paid for the video, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network. However, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, citing a source, reported Sunday that "Facebook actually encouraged Brown to engage in a Facebook Live session from the locker room after the game."
Florio added: "A Facebook spokesperson declined comment on the situation. One other source, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted that there has been contact between Facebook and Brown but insisted that Brown was not directed to broadcast live from the locker room."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported: "Brown actually has a big-time marketing deal with Facebook, sources say, part of his lucrative off-the-field portfolio. The deal is worth in the high six figures, per the same sources."
Not only did Brown break league rules when he recorded video live from the locker room, but he also gave the New England Patriots some serious bulletin-board material in advance of the AFC title game.
During the broadcast, Tomlin could be overheard discussing how his team would approach Sunday's showdown at Gillette Stadium.
He said, per NFL.com's Marc Sessler:
Let's say very little moving forward. Let's start our preparations. We just spotted these assh--es a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight. We're going to touch down at 4 o'clock in the f--king morning. So be it. We'll be ready for their ass. But you ain't got to tell them we're coming.
Speaking to reporters on Jan. 17, Tomlin didn't mince words regarding his displeasure with Brown's actions.
"It was foolish of him to do that," Tomlin said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. "It was selfish of him to do that. It was inconsiderate of him to do that. Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows."
Tomlin also confirmed Brown will be punished "swiftly" and "internally" by the team, per Dulac.
Additionally, the wideout could face fines from the league for breaching its social media policy, per Rapoport. The rule states players should not be active on various platforms "until after the postgame locker room is open to the media and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to the news media who are at the game."
And now that he's found the spotlight for the wrong reasons, Brown figures to be at the center of attention Sunday with a spot in Super Bowl 51 on the line.