The Pittsburgh Steelers have been the NFL’s version of ‘Days of our Lives’ in 2017. It started with the Le’Veon Bell holdout. The drama continued to the National Anthem fiasco. From there, Antonio Brown fought a water cooler, Bell has spoken out against the play calling, and Martavis Bryant has demanded a trade. There are surely things missing even from that list as the drama continues to build even thicker character arcs.
Now, in the latest twist, Martavis Bryant has come out and said that he will not be dressing for the Pittsburgh Steelers week wight matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Martavis Bryant said steelers Tomlin told him he won't play Sunday
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 25, 2017
Martavis Bryant says he is out for Week Eight
This suspension or benching comes from social media was the reason why he was not playing.
Martavis Bryant said he's not playing Sunday. Asked why? 'Social media," he said. https://t.co/zWdJY92dZs
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 25, 2017
This clearly goes back to the issue that he had earlier this week on an Instagram post. On a random account, a comment mentioned that rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster was better than Martavis Bryant. Bryant commented back for some odd reason and said that he was better than the rookie second-round pick.
Usually, head coach Mike Tomlin is nonchalant about his players using social media. However, in this case, Bryant threw his own teammate under the bus; a punishable error.
When looking at how to punish Bryant, one way seemed logical for all parties involved. Bryant did an interview with Josina Anderson of ESPN after his Instagram comment leaked. He mentioned that while his hate is not directed at Smith-Schuster, he knows that he needs the ball to earn a new contract. He is playing on the rookie wage scale for five years rather than four because of a suspension, therefore thinks the Steelers are ruining his chances of getting a big extension.
Bryant is mad about his role and mad that he is potentially losing money. The Steelers need Bryant on the field. Whether he is putting up statistics or not, he is putting the fear into the defense and demands respect deep. He looks as physically good as ever and has even been a high effort blocker this season. What he is bringing to the table off of the stat sheets has been very valuable.
If the Steelers need him in this role that he does not like, and he is most concerned about money, the team should have fined him and kept him in the same role. However, coach Tomlin is much closer to the situation and understands these players and how they can react to different punishment, so his opinion has to be trusted. What sort of impact this has in the coming weeks remains to be seen.