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The Week That Was

Antonio Brown owned 2019 and other news of the year

The Year That Was 2019

January

Texas live-animal mascot Bevo XV nearly impaled Georgia mascot Uga before the Sugar Bowl. Memphis Grizzlies teammates Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi got into a fight. President Donald Trump welcomed the national champion Clemson football team to the White House with takeout food from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Domino’s. Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens, whose team is currently 6-10, said it “drives me crazy that people are happy with 7-8-1. That’s not acceptable.” Florida State’s football recruiting department posted and quickly deleted a social media post of Martin Luther King Jr. with a Seminoles glove superimposed over King’s hand. The Cleveland Browns’ marketing team once accidentally broadcast pornographic tweets for 20 minutes at the team facility because it pulled all tweets using the hashtag #dp in Twitter’s search engine. Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr challenged First Take hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman to a UFC fight. Former NFL receiver Jacoby Jones joked that his world-class talent may be due to his father being “a crackhead.”

February

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was found guilty of reckless driving after failing to show up to court for allegedly driving more than 100 mph through a Pennsylvania town. Chicago Cubs co-owner Tom Ricketts said he’s never heard his father, who once wrote in an email that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims,” say “anything that was even remotely racist” because racism “just isn’t our family values.” Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon made a $250 million investment in the Alliance of American Football two weeks into the upstart league’s inaugural season. Last Chance U subject Jason Brown resigned from his community college football coaching job after it was reported that he once texted a German player on his team, “I am your new Hitler.” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly paid for sexual acts at a Florida massage parlor eight hours before his team’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

March

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver once planted goats in his general manager’s office, and the goats eventually defecated all over it. Former NFL defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones allegedly yelled, “Suck my d—,” “F— you,” “I will kill you,” “You ain’t s—,” “You ain’t nothing but a b—-” and “You’re a bunch of crackers” at police officers at an Indiana casino. The Philadelphia Phillies chose to sign Bryce Harper over Dominican-American Manny Machado because “We just felt that taking Manny when Bryce was still available just wasn’t going to play well with the fan base.” Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook told a Utah Jazz fan, “I’ll f— you up,” after the fan allegedly told Westbrook to “get down on your knees like you’re used to.” Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson apologized for recording himself driving 105 mph while possibly not wearing a seat belt. Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana took his bat and smashed a television in the team’s clubhouse because his teammates were playing too much Fortnite. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell said he stopped working out for about a month during his self-imposed exile from the NFL last year to focus on his rap album.

April

The Alliance of American Football suspended all football operations just eight games into the league’s inaugural 10-game regular season. Former UFC champion Conor McGregor called the Muslim wife of current UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov a “towel mate” while begging Nurmagomedov for a rematch. Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown posted an old private message from Juju Smith-Schuster asking Brown for professional advice amid the duo’s ongoing social media beef. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson stepped down from his position on the heels of the offseason without giving his bosses a heads-up. Former NBA player Stephon Marbury responded to former college basketball player Doug Gottlieb calling New York basketball players the “Biggest myth in basketball” by tweeting at Gottlieb, “Doug do you remember how dirty I used to do you in front of your daddy?” The NFL granted the Cleveland Browns four prime-time games next season despite the Browns still being the Browns. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said his 37-foot series-winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder was “the last word” in the teams’ nascent rivalry.

May

Fox Sports analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw referred to The Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong as “the little short guy from Japan.” World Wrestling Entertainment fined wrestler Dylan “Lars Sullivan” Miley $100,000 for comments Miley once made on a bodybuilding forum, including saying “Blacks always have been the race in which rob the most.” Former NBA player Lamar Odom claims he’s had sexual relations with more than 2,000 women in his lifetime. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were ruled against by a federal appeals court after the team attempted to collect damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which was nearly 400 miles away from the team’s stadium. Minor league baseball club the Fresno Grizzlies apologized for a Memorial Day video that insinuated that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an “[enemy] of freedom” on par with Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro. Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said he once set up a dinner with his former client Kobe Bryant and The Dark Knight actor Heath Ledger months after Ledger had died. Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala said Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob “hasn’t experienced the real NBA yet” in terms of how fleeting a franchise’s championship window is.

June

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard filed a lawsuit alleging that Nike attempted to illegally copyright Leonard’s “Klaw” logo. Retired NBA player Paul Pierce said he was wheeled off the court during Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals because he “just had to go to a bathroom.” New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell had $520,000 worth of jewelry stolen from his Florida home by his girlfriends. Singer Justin Bieber challenged 56-year-old actor Tom Cruise to a mixed martial arts fight put on by the UFC. An Alameda County, California, sheriff’s deputy claimed he suffered a concussion during an on-court incident with Raptors president Masai Ujiri after Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Tampa Bay Rays received permission to explore a plan to build stadiums in Florida and Montreal and have the team play in two cities rather than just one. Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, told reporters he never “asked for a trade” from the team and he will “be in Houston.” Former Sacramento Kings chief revenue officer Jeffrey David was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing $13.4 million from the team.

July

U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro released a letter claiming that members of the women’s national team were actually paid more than their male counterparts if salaries from the National Women’s Soccer League were included and bonuses from the men’s World Cup were not. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Amir Garrett charged at the dugout to take on multiple members of the Pittsburgh Pirates all by himself. President Donald Trump was not pleased with conservative cable news network Fox News over the weekend for airing a “F—- Trump” chant while broadcasting a live segment from the Women’s World Cup. Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was watching a Prince impersonator at the Tropicana Las Vegas resort when he received word that former Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard had signed with the LA Clippers. The Atlanta Falcons hired former Maryland head coach DJ Durkin as a “guest coach” during the team’s training camp. Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who will be breaking the bank in Buffalo, New York, next season if he keeps up these antics, arrived at Jaguars training camp in a custom armored truck after failing to receive a contract extension.

August

The Miami Marlins apologized on Twitter after a team social media employee tweeted, “yOU’RE LITERALLY THE ANIMAL THAT KILLED STEVE IRWIN LOG OFF” at the Tampa Bay Rays’ account. New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman responded that “to a degree I know what it looks, smells and tastes like” when asked how he knows his team will be successful. Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown suffered extreme frostbite on his feet after not wearing proper footwear in a cryotherapy machine in France. New York Jets head coach Adam Gase once asked his wife, “You good?” after she gave birth to their child through cesarean section. Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown filed a grievance against the NFL for not being able to wear his preferred helmet. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross stepped down from the NFL’s social justice committee weeks after it was publicized that Ross would hold a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung was indicted on a charge of cocaine possession. Former NFL running back Larry Johnson tweeted that there is an “Effeminate Agenda” in the NBA and NFL to “indoctrinate the heterosexual sports world without them knowing” through “Vogue Fashion show[s]” and “Noticeable weight loss to fit the feminine archetype.”

September

Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown reacted to the team fining him $54,000 for missing various practices by accusing the team of “HATE” and clarifying that “EVERYONE GOT TO PAY THIS YEAR SO WE CLEAR.” Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was blocked from trademarking the phrase “Taco Tuesday” by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold missed three games after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. The University of Alabama at Birmingham athletic director Mark Ingram had to be talked out of having a live komodo dragon at football games by a zookeeper because children could get “spit on and paralyzed, and eaten, potentially, by the komodo dragon.” Former New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown reenrolled at an American college, Central Michigan University. A college football fan who helped raise more than $1 million for the University of Iowa’s children’s hospital after holding up a sign on ESPN’s College GameDay apologized for past racist posts he made on Twitter. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, who has attempted five (CHECK) 3-pointers this season, said before the season, “If it’s open, I’ll take it” when asked if he’d shoot 3-pointers. Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the remainder of the season after a helmet-to-helmet hit versus the Indianapolis Colts.

October

A vendor at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium was arrested on two felony charges after allegedly fraudulently charging fans $724 for two beers. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal traded insults over multiple competing diss tracks. LaVar Ball and former Big Baller Brand business partner Alan Foster sued and countersued for, among other things, embezzling millions of dollars from each other. Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen said the team’s culture is “actually damn good” after firing head coach Jay Gruden and before Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams accused the team of medical malpractice. A Penn State University alumnus followed up his letter to a Nittany Lions football player that referred to the player’s locs as “awful hair” by saying his remarks weren’t intended to be racist but were instead a plea to “see the coaches get the guys cleaned up and not looking like Florida State and Miami guys.” Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Zach Brown was released from the team a day after Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, whom Brown had called the “weakest part” of his team’s offense days earlier, threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-20 victory over the Eagles. The Houston Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for gloating about pitcher Roberto Osuna, who has been accused of domestic violence, in front of female reporters.

November

Cleveland Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead was released from the team after, among other things, threatening to kill multiple Twitter users after a Browns loss to the Denver Broncos. New York Knicks president Steve Mills has told team owner James Dolan the team is built to be “highly competitive in the Eastern Conference.” Canadian hockey commentator and former NHL coach Don Cherry was fired from his job as a broadcaster at Sportsnet after 38 years for referring to Canadian immigrants as “you people.” Memphis freshman center James Wiseman sued the NCAA and six days later dropped his lawsuit and was immediately declared ineligible by the Tigers for accepting a payment from head coach Penny Hardaway. A Cincinnati Bengals season-ticket holder lived on the roof of a local restaurant for nearly two months after proclaiming on Oct. 7 that he wouldn’t come down until the Bengals won their next game. Former New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft “for the bad media and the drama” after being released from the team in September and subsequently invoking Kraft’s massage parlor legal issues. Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford deleted his social media accounts after the team’s first loss of the season because he “was kind of, I guess, sick and tired of getting death threats.” The Los Angeles Chargers hired their first Hispanic outreach coordinator who spoke Spanish. Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur before Garrett hit Rudolph over the head with Rudolph’s helmet.

December

Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown posted on Instagram that he is “starting to question” whether Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants to win another Super Bowl by not re-signing him, and then added that “a report came out that [Kraft] had fingers up your a– during the spa.” Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw made a three-team parlay bet that included a Cardinals game, all of which led to Shaw being suspended through at least the 2020 season. The NBA removed the recent three-time champion Golden State Warriors from two national broadcasts in December after the team started the season with the worst record. The Houston Rockets filed a protest with the NBA over a dunk attempt by Rockets guard James Harden that wasn’t counted in a 135-133 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The New England Patriots are under investigation by the NFL after the team’s production crew was spotted filming the field and sideline of a Cleveland Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game. Former NFL players Clinton Portis and Joe Horn were charged with health care fraud by the Department of Justice after the two, among eight other former players, allegedly filed $3.9 million worth of fraudulent claims with the NFL’s Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan.

Liner Notes

Illustrations by Nathan Gelgud.

Martenzie is an associate editor for The Undefeated. His favorite cinematic moment is when Django said "Y'all want to see somethin?"