Bill Cowher left the Steelers after the 2006 season, sparing him from coaching at the height of the social media era.
Good thing, because the CBS analyst has no patience for the sort of thing Steelers receiver Antonio Brown did Sunday night.
“Certainly, I think it was selfish and disrespectful, to say the least,” Cowher said Wednesday during a conference call to promote Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Steelers and Patriots.
Brown broadcast on Facebook Live from the visiting locker room in Kansas City after the Steelers’ divisional round victory. He mostly ignored a postgame speech by coach Mike Tomlin, who was heard using an expletive in referring to the Patriots.
Tomlin was furious and said Brown, who eventually apologized on Twitter, would be dealt with internally.
“Those are sacred times you have in the locker room after a game,” Cowher said. “After an emotional game things were said and done. Every coach and player knows who’s played this game that that locker room after a game is a special place. I think what he did was self-serving, to his own admission.”
Cowher praised how Tomlin has handled the matter, including the fact he will not punish the team and its fans by benching the star receiver.
“I think it was dealt with appropriately, and from what I’ve heard over there they’ve moved on,” Cowher said. “The residual effect from that has created a little bit of a anxiety, animosity. It certainly has added to the storyline.”
Cowher took heat after the 2005 season when an NFL Films video of him mocking the Bengals after a playoff victory surfaced. He said coaches had to be careful about what they said even in the late 1990s and early 2000s because it might show up on a stadium video board.
“It’s always been there,” he said. “But I think today with Facebook Live, some of these players are actually getting paid quite a bit of money to post these things, and that’s unfortunate, because you cannot put yourself above the team. I think that’s the message that was sent to Antonio Brown: That it was very self-serving, selfish and inappropriate.”
Said fellow CBS analyst and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, “I’m surprised stuff like this hasn’t happened before . . . This will be the end of secrets, or the sanctity of the locker room that you used to have. I think those days are probably gone.
“You even have to watch what you say to your teammates in the locker room now.”