The Misunderstanding of “Diva” Receivers


James Brennan, Sports Editor

For the past 20 years, the wide receiver position has been filled with flashy players.  Players who love to score touchdowns and love to let you know they scored touchdowns.  Steve Smith, who just recently retired, would not only score a touchdown and do a dance in the end zone, but he would also talk trash for the entirety of the game.  Victor Cruz had everyone thinking they knew how to salsa when he would find the end zone. It’s impossible to miss Rob Gronkowski, although a tight end by definition, he spikes the ball with every tremendous force and then proceeds to lose his mind in the form of dance.  All of these players are beloved by fans and have taken the NFL to new heights because of their skills as well as marketability.  For some reason though, there are a few receivers that have seemed to rub people the wrong way and are thought of more as “divas.”

Of late, three players have been in the headlines and are being ripped apart by the media. Hall of Fame snub Terrell Owens, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr have all been labeled as “divas”. Some have gone as far to say that these players were detrimental to their teams success.

Terrell Owens made headlines recently because he was snubbed in the recent Hall of Fame induction.  For those of you who were too young to remember the early 2000’s, Terrell Owens was simply the most dominant wide receiver in football.  He did not come without baggage however, whether he was making headlines for disrespectfully standing on the Dallas star or arguing on the Philadelphia sideline with Donovan McNabb.  But was Dallas complaining when he joined their team? Was McNabb complaining when he caught nine passes for over 100 yards in the Super Bowl on a broken leg? T.O. definitely made a number of mistakes throughout his career, but keeping the second greatest wide receiver in NFL history out of the Hall because he had a big ego is simply unfair.

Odell Beckham Jr. is the biggest star in the biggest city in America, so the microscope is always on him.  His most recent incident that he got grief for was taking a boat trip in Miami during the week of a win or go home playoff game, in which he dropped multiple passes.  Now I know it’s the job of the media to ask players questions, but it is astounding that the New York media turned this non-story into a catastrophe and caused the best player on the team to perform poorly.  This was not a case of Beckham being tired from a boat trip 6 days earlier.  This is the case of the media stirring up controversy that wasn’t  related to the action on the field.

Last but not least, Antonio Brown.  Brown is the face of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and he faced some heat after recording a private speech being made by his coach Mike Tomlin after a playoff win.  People began to act like Brown calculated the consequences of this, but went through with it anyway because he cares more about his Facebook watchers than the team.  It was a mistake that he admitted to and apologized for, but some people will not accept it and are now saying the Steelers should trade him.  Blasphemy.  I have watched this man week in and week out be a catalyst for this team and leave his heart and soul on the field.  He is a beloved bundle of joy and smiles that I am blessed to wear the jersey of every Sunday, and he is more of a team player than half of the guys in the league.