OPINION: Antonio Brown’s stock is on shaky ground after the selfish soap operas in Pittsburgh and Oakland that have added new meaning to the term unprofessional
Bulls of the Week
The most bullish individual stock in all of sport last week was none other than Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu.
Not only did the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. make history as the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam open category singles title, she did so in style.
On the tennis world’s biggest stage — at least its most commercial and media-intense stage in New York City — Andreescu posted her second consecutive career win over American Serena Williams, the greatest women’s player of all time.
And this time, it wasn’t a 3-1 walkover in 19 minutes because of a back injury to Williams, as it was in the Rogers Cup final that Andreescu won last month in Toronto. Playing as a +240 underdog according to FanDuel, Andreescu posted a full-value-for-the-money straight-set 6-3, 7-5 triumph of youth and ambition over experience and legacy.
It set a new record for tennis television in Canada, with an average national audience of 3.4 million tuning in on TSN after a semifinal audience of 955,000 and a quarterfinal of 852,000.
If you’re not sure what was most impressive — Andreescu’s mental toughness fighting off a late comeback bid by Williams or her grace and presence of mind at the microphone during the trophy presentations — you’re not the only one. She made a lot of new fans — even among the Americans in New York — when she admitted the crowd was her biggest obstacle and then apologized for defeating the homegrown favourite who was gunning for her 24th Grand Slam singles title.
Thanks to Andreescu, Williams is still on hold looking to tie old-school Australian Margaret Court at the record of 24.
Then came the greatest victory lap of late night and morning talk shows ever recorded by a Canadian athlete. She was on everything emanating from New York on Monday — from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to The View — and more from Toronto on Wednesday.
That post-U.S. Open championship media tour — one that began Sunday morning at the top of the Empire State Building — consolidated her as the new “it girl” of tennis in particular and of Canadian sport in general. Andreescu began the year at No. 178 on the WTA Tour. She is now basking the limelight of No. 5 in the world.
The favourite part of the story for her accountants is the fact she won US$3.85 million in her U.S. Open payday, bringing her career earnings to over US$6 million (with all but $215,888 being earned this season, a 46-4 breakout year like few we’ve ever seen).
Bears of the Week
Antonio Brown’s stock is on shaky ground after the selfish soap operas in Pittsburgh and Oakland that have added new meaning to the term unprofessional.
Whether his stock falls further depends much on what happens with the allegations of exploitation, sexual assault and rape made against him by 28-year-old Britney Taylor; allegations now framed in a civil lawsuit against Brown.
Whether he and the New England Patriots can make for a productive relationship going forward is difficult to tell. It depends on what happens with Brown and the courts and Brown and the Commissioner’s Office.
Suffice to say, if Bill Belichick can’t tame Brown, no one in pro football can.
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