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Rutter: Only one winner in Facebook Live snafu — and it’s not Antonio Brown

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If it’s true that, as the Wall Street Journal reported in a July story, Antonio Brown is getting paid $244,000 by Facebook Live to create video content, then show me the money.
Not in the Jerry Maguire sense. I mean to me, as in give me a chunk of the proceeds. Shouldn’t I get a small cut? I made a two-second cameo (see the above screen shot, I’m the dude in the upper right corner) in Brown’s 17-minute, 32-second live feed after the Steelers’ 18-16 win over the Chiefs on Sunday.
I think I’m at least entitled to about $2.44 considering the sum the All-Pro receiver is receiving from Facebook Live.
Seriously, if there is one winner in this VideoGate fiasco — and it’s not the guy primping for the camera incessantly throughout — it is Facebook Live.
The publicity the company is receiving from this incident is incalculable. It’s safe to say that of the $50 million the company is paying celebrities and media companies to produce content, nobody has brought in the return on investment like Brown.
Anyone remember anything interesting from, say, Michael Phelps or Russell Wilson on Facebook Live? Anyone even know they were posting live videos? That’s what I thought.
Brown can’t be considered a winner because he stands to lose much more than the $244,000 Facebook Live is paying him in future NFL earnings and endorsements.
Considering the language he showed being used in the video, and I don’t just mean from his head coach. For all of the “God is the greatest” references Brown made in the video, he threw in a few sexually explicit references to the male anatomy — sometimes in the same sentence. That kind of garbage tends to turn off endorsers — no matter how many times you flash your teeth for the camera.
Coach Mike Tomlin hinted Tuesday that Brown’s future with the Steelers could be in jeopardy if such shenanigans continue.
“I think that’s often time why you see great players move around from team to team,” Tomlin said at his weekly press conference. “I definitely don’t want that to be his story. I’m sure he doesn’t want that to be his story.”
In other words, Tomlin doesn’t want Brown to become the next Terrell Owens, a supremely talented wide receiver whose pain-in-the-butt antics are one reason he shuffled from San Francisco to Philadelphia to Dallas to Buffalo to Cincinnati in his career.
Brown arguably is the best receiver in the NFL and one of the two best players on the Steelers. But his contract expires after the 2017 season.
The Steelers have put off renegotiating a new deal until a star player has one year left on his contract because they don’t want to start a precedent. Brown has gotten advances on his salary the past two offseasons, but this is the winter/spring/summer he truly can cash in on a big payday.
Brown’s video may not keep the Steelers from extending an offer to their star receiver. But it could cause them to lessen their offer — or decide to let Brown play out his final season before slapping him with a franchise tag, negotiating a long-term deal before free agency or letting him walk away.
Brown will turn 29 in the summer, not old by wide receiver standards, but not young, either. As he enters a new contract, Brown will be 30 with his best years likely behind him.
Will the Steelers be committed to paying up? Nobody knows at this juncture.
Only one this is certain: Facebook Live will not be. Reports surfaced this week that the company will no longer be paying celebrities for live video content.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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Author: Joe Rutter

After 13 years covering the Pirates -- the first 13 of their losing streak from 1993-2012 -- I moved away from PNC Park and into an assistant editor's position. Now, in 2016, after 10 years away from a beat, I'm back and happily covering the Steelers.

 
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