After Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown called a former teammate an “Uncle Tom,” former Patriots player Damien Woody offered his opinion on what it meant for a larger conversation.
It started after Brown missed the team’s final game of the season, kicking off a behind-the-scenes controversy that’s become increasingly public. Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark (Brown’s teammate from 2010 to 2013), now an ESPN analyst, bluntly stated on television that it was time for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to “put his foot down” with Brown and explore trading him.
Brown commented on ESPN NFL’s Instagram video of Clark, writing simply, “Uncle Tom.”
On Wednesday evening, Woody – who is also an ESPN analyst – shared his own thoughts on the matter.
“I wanted to get on here and comment on the whole Ryan Clark-Antonio Brown situation,” said Woody in a video he tweeted out.
“To me, it speaks to a bigger picture that folks out here – in particular black folks out here – who have a problem with black analysts that are on network television telling it like it is, or calling it like it is,” said Woody. “We lose credibility if we aren’t able to be critical of people who deserve criticism if we don’t paint the picture, pull back the curtains, and let the fans know how it’s really going on out here.”
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) January 2, 2019
Woody has worked on television since his career as a player ended in 2011. Prior to that, he helped the Patriots win their first two Super Bowls as an original member of the early Bill Belichick era in New England.