Despite the decades of unprecedented success the Patriots accomplished, they never escaped the wrath of their local media coverage. Whether their season ended with a Super Bowl win or a little bit earlier in the AFC Championship Game, it seemed like nobody and nothing was off limits for the well-known, pessimistic Boston-based media.
As if the consistent negativity from the national media wasn't enough, New England continues to be scrutinized for anything and everything now that they've become one of the worst teams in the league this season. Although it's become commonplace for any franchise in that position, it seems like there are a few reporters who may be crossing the line with the information they are sharing with the media.
That's how Trent Brown feels about the current narrative surrounding him this season, mainly due to his recent absence from practices and media availability. He was one of the few players who didn't travel with the team for their game abroad last week, and not much was revealed about why he was absent. But he had been reportedly dealing with injuries sporadically this year, which most believed was the reason for a second missed game.
However, that's where the worst part of the media comes into play.
A rumor shared by Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer suggested there was a more significant explanation for why Brown didn't make the trip. The reporter claimed that this was nothing new for the tackle and that he “is habitually late to things. That’s been a problem over the course of his career, and that problem hasn’t gone away this year.”
So when the team spoke to the media on Tuesday, Brown didn't hold back in his response to Breer's allegations.
"That’s bull----. It’s a bunch of bull----. I’m never late. Honestly. I’m one of the first ones in and one of the last ones out of the building. If I am late to any meetings or anything, it’s because I’m a grown man and I should be allowed to go to the bathroom. Especially if it’s in between meetings and I’m trying to (go to the bathroom) or if I’m trying to grab something from the training room to be healthier and prepare for practice. It’s a lot of bullshit.
I’m sure you’re not really used to reporting about losing seasons around here, but that’s the type of bull---- rhetoric that comes to play. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all season I’ve been the best player on offense and then when I’m not playing, that bull----starts happening."
Some may feel Brown took it too far with his answer, but it's a valid response to a rumor that doesn't have much basis to it to begin with.
Throughout his current run with the Patriots, and even his previous tenures, lousy behavior or tardiness has never been brought up regarding Brown. If it had been, it's almost certain that Bill Belichick would have revealed that information to the media. He's not shy about that sort of stuff when it comes to players.
And if that were the case about Brown, wouldn't more reporters have had that information besides Breer? That was the case with the recent stories about Jack Jones and J.C. Jackson, both of whom were benched for their behavior, prompting Jones' eventual release. So, it seems fair to assume that if a similar issue were happening with Brown, we would have all heard about it in the same way.
The only criticism that has been discussed about Brown is his alleged lack of motivation, which longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia even discussed earlier this year. But that can't exactly be used against him now when he has been performing up to par in the games he's been on the field for this season.
He's also not wrong about being one of the better players on the offense. Although some may initially take issue with that statement, he has been statistically the best lineman on the team, allowing just two sacks in seven starts at left tackle. His absence in the last two games proves his point even further.
"It’s crazy. It seems like somewhere of a smear campaign, but whatever. I’ve literally never been late. I don’t know what it is but when I’m out there I do my job and it’s noticeable and that’s all I can control."
What makes the entire situation even crazier is Breer's response on Tuesday evening after hearing what Brown had to say. He doubled down on his original report about Brown being constantly late, stating he's an unreliable player, resulting in him bouncing around to other teams.
It's a weird way to respond to a response, especially since Brown has only played on three teams during his nine-year career, and the tone in which Breer chose to speak with makes it come off wildly unprofessional, even more so by stating, "I know the truth."
It's not always easy to decipher what is the truth and what is just a rumor in the sports world, but it feels safe to assume that Brown is the one to believe in this situation.