COLUMN: A Letter To Martavis Bryant

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver-slash-enigma Martavis Bryant was told by coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday that he will not be playing Sunday in Detroit. Bryant’s multiple remarks on social media and to the media have made it perfectly clear that Bryant isn’t happy with his current role in Pittsburgh. 

Now that the news reporting is out of the way, here’s the commentary I want to give on the matter, or rather, a message straight to Bryant himself.

Dear Martavis, shut up. You’ve lost all credibility with at least most of the fans that whole-heartedly support the Pittsburgh Steelers, the ones that claim to bleed black and gold. Now, obviously, you’re a professional football player, and for most professional athletes, those colors you wear on gamedays don’t quite permeate your very being like they do for fans. 

I get it. I understand your frustration. You are one of the most gifted receivers I’ve seen on the last 10 years. Your size and talent combination is lethal. Your role this season has been limited after being out an entire season. I’m sure you were itching to get back to it. I can’t imagine what you went through. 

Here’s what I don’t get and you will never be able to explain it to me: why, oh why, stoop to the level you have? Your anger and frustration of the situation does not permiss you bashing a fellow teammate who has had a great rookie year so far. JuJu deserves praise for what he’s done in his short career so far. Yeah, he’s not going to to hall-of-fame yet, but he’s done exactly what he’s been asked to do and executed to the best of his ability. That deserves respect.

And for you Martavis, what exactly have you accomplished in your career to think you can demand this kind of respect from your coaches, teammates, and fans? You shown several flashes of just how talented you are. Some of the plays you’ve made have left us all with our jaws on the floor. But what did you do for your encore? You’ve violated the substance policy twice. While I understand how badly you wanted to get back after that year, I have no sympathy for you. You’re the only reason you got suspended. 

Now what about Le’Veon Bell? He’s been suspended twice. Yeah, but look what he’s done since coming back. He’s 2nd in the league in rushing and has been an All-Pro running back. Yeah, he touches the ball way more than you or even Antonio Brown do, but what are you doing with your targets and touches? Last game, you had only one less target than JuJu, yet his impact on the game was way bigger than yours. He even made plays down the field when he wasn’t touching the ball. You should know receivers don’t have to touch the ball to make an impact. Just ask Hines Ward

You might want to learn a little something about what it is to be a teammate. You don’t have to look too far away. As a matter of fact, all you have to do is go downtown to PPG Paints Arena. Remember Marc-Andre Fleury? Pittsburgh sure does. They revere him and honor and praise him, despite the fact that he’s stopping pucks for another team now. You know, he had his job taken by a rookie. Twice. During a playoff run no-less. Did he go to social media and whine and complain about how much better he was than Matt Murray? Did he tear down his fellow teammate? Did he sulk and whine about not being between the pipes at the most crucial points of the season? Nope. He took him under his wing and mentored him. He swallowed his pride and did what was best for the team. And look what it helped produce for the Penguins: back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Do you want to win Super Bowls, Martavis? Do you want to be part of a great team? Because this team is on the verge of being great, and instead of trying to be a piece of a 53-man team, you’re trying to only get yours. 

Grow up.

 Every receiver wants the ball more than they get it, but you have to believe that the Steelers aren’t done with you. After everything you’ve done to be a distraction or detriment, they still say they’ve invested too much in you to just dump you. Remember, this is an organization that traded away a Super Bowl MVP in Santonio Holmes because of off-the-field issues. If after everything you’ve done and the Steelers still don’t want to trade you, it shows you they believe in you. So please for our sake and your own, just shut up. 

Do you want to know why there’s so much outrage against you right now? It’s not because fans always need something to whine about or media needs something to write about, but because you acting like this is a waste of so much God-given ability. We want you to succeed and make the big catches for the Steelers in big games. Not everybody likes the hand their dealt, but you live with it and continue to work hard until your dealt your next hand. We care too much to see you act like a man-child. 

No amount of talent is worth having a cancer on your team. If you can’t change your attitude, we don’t want you here. Good riddance. 

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