Steelers coach Mike Tomlin apologized for using profanity during a postgame address to players Sunday, including the word he used to describe the Patriots. He also took star receiver Antonio Brown to task.
“The language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin said Tuesday, speaking for the first time about the locker room moment that became public fodder after Brown posted it on Facebook Live.
“That’s why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community, I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”
Brown gave fans behind-the-scenes access by recording the Steelers’ celebratory locker room after their 18-16 win over the Chiefs in an AFC divisional-round game. During the 17-minute video, Tomlin used an expletive to refer to their AFC Championship Game opponent, the Patriots.
Tomlin said he hadn’t yet spoken to Brown about putting the typically private team moment live on social media, but he made it clear he would be punished by the organization.
“I’ll be bluntly honest here. It was foolish of him to do that. It was selfish for him to do that. And it was inconsiderate for him to do that,” Tomlin said. “Not only is it a violation of our policy, it’s a violation of league policy. Both of which he knows. So there’s consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him, we won’t punish us. And we’ll do so swiftly, and we’ll do so internally.”
Tomlin also said Brown likely will face punishment from the NFL. Players are prohibited from posting on social media beginning 90 minutes before kickoff until postgame interviews are over.
“But larger than that, he’s got to grow from this. He has to,” Tomlin said. “He works extremely hard, he’s extremely talented, and those get minimized with incidents such as this. You wear on your teammates when they have to routinely answer questions about things that aren’t preparation or football-related . . . . He’s respected largely in the locker room, but incidents such as this don’t help him in that regard.”
Tomlin said he doesn’t think the video will have any bearing on Sunday’s game. Nor does he think it will be added motivation for the Patriots.
“You’re not going to creep in the back door of New England and win a football game and creep out of there with an AFC championship,’’ Tomlin said. “I’m not worried about our team’s ability to deal with the potential distractions . . . So from that perspective, I have very little concern about the content of the video.”
Neither does Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “As you know, I’m not on SnapFace and all that, so I don’t really get those,’’ Belichick told WEEI in Boston on Monday. “I’m really just worried about getting our team ready to go. I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstantChat, or whatever it is.”