2017 South Side Questions: How Will Tomlin Discipline Martavis Bryant?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: How will Head Coach Mike Tomlin discipline wide receiver Martavis Bryant for his post-game behavior on social media Sunday?

One thing that Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is known for is turning what some see as mountains into mole hills. It is pretty frequent that he is bombarded with questions that would make it seem as though a very serious issue is being addressed, when, in actuality, to paraphrase the coach, it really isn’t high on the damn agenda.

So he walked into yesterday’s press conference knowing that he would have to address wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s post-game comments on social media that quickly went viral, even though he deleted them, seemingly calling out rookie teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster and giving life to the report that he wanted to be traded.

While Tomlin characterized the whole issue as “somewhat of a distraction” only because he had to field questions about it, he did say that he would speak to Bryant and that he would reign down his discipline; so the question then is in what form that discipline will come.

It could be anything, really, from a suspension for conduct detrimental to the team to a simple order to say off of social media. Mike Mitchell had to be told to get off of Twitter and other apps early in his tenure with the Steelers because he lashed out in frustration at people during his injuries.

Tomlin did say that what he has said away from the team—namely, on social media—has presented a different set of information than he and the rest of the team have been given while speaking with him, so that could play a factor.

What should the punishment be? That isn’t for me to say, and, really, isn’t my place. I don’t even have enough information to venture a fair wager. But don’t let that stop you. If you were Tomlin, how would you handle Bryant—noting that he said that he is not available for trade?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Jacob

    Bench him until he finds JuJu’s bike?

    Seriously though, a social media ban at the very least as it seems to not only affect the team, but him personally as he reads criticisms.

  • CP72

    I like this solution. I would also add a fine. He’s taking about getting his money, so show him that what he did has the opposite effect.

  • israelp

    Change his precious #10 uniform number.

  • Nolrog

    Unfortunately, everything Bryant has done just diminishes his trade value and makes it less likely they will deal him. The best thing he could have done was make his request private, then shut up, work hard and play the best that he can. Not running hard on a 3rd and short and then watching the ball sailing over his head is not going to peak the interest of possible trade partners.

  • Rick McClelland

    Send him to an English class so he can learn how to speak other than hood. Maybe he won’t be looking for “mines” then.

  • Michael James

    I think a social media ban is necessary.
    In addition, I would have a long and serious talk with Bryant. About the fact that they still need and value him, but that he’s only butchering his career with this diva-like behaviour and that he has to get his act together and be a teamplayer. Also make him apologize in front of all his teammates (especially to Juju).

  • Alan Tman

    Funny how mines is making millions. How about you? Education doesn’t make you a good person. But why would I have to tell you that?

  • Alan Tman

    Social media and media ban plus a fine.

  • Av232

    He’s going to have a long conversation where he let’s Bryant know how disappointed he is. He’ll ask him to keep it positive on social media. They’ll talk about his production on field.

    Case closed.

    It’s good fodder for us, but it’s not worth a fine, a suspension, etc. Relationships are forged in real life, not on Instagram. All accounts point towards a good teammate in the flesh.

  • Zach6432

    Ban from social media, make him apologize, and tell him that if he doesnt shut up about the trade BS, they will trade him to the Browns where careers go to die.

  • WARisHELL

    There’s a decent chance JuJu misses the Lions game with his concussion so I’d be shocked if he doesn’t play this week. “Punish him, not punish us” comes to mind. Probably a fine at the most.

  • Jim Foles

    Does proper route running and learning the playbook have any relation to education?

  • LHW

    It is funny. Embarrassing actually. Somebody can be that dim-witted and make that kind of money. That shines the bright light of truth on the US education system. That guy went to college – HE WENT TO COLLEGE. Think about that. He could not find Pittsburgh on a map. Even so, all the more power to him.

  • Jim McCarley

    If I am Tomlin, I bring Bryant in, sit him down and tell him not to say a word until I am finished talking, and then I tell him this….” Do you realize that the only reason we drafted JJSS is because of YOU? If you had not let us down multiple times and got suspended for a year and showed us that we could not depend on you to be on the field, we would have likely not drafted JJSS and we would likely be talking to you about an extension and a raise, but now we are talking about how unhappy YOU are. You are telling us that you want to leave the team that stood by you through all your troubles because you think you should be getting more targets. You should be glad that you are getting the targets that you are and when you start getting open more and actually making catches when the ball is thrown your way, you WILL get more targets. I am going to request that you stay off of social media until further notice. I am also going to tell you that this is the one and only time that you and I will talk about this. If this happens again, you will be fined and suspended for as long as we see fit and before you can get back on the field you will have to meet with Mr. Rooney. Oh and here’s a bit more to mull over in that tiny little brain of yours…..Mr. Rooney has enough power in this league to make you less attractive to other teams than Colin Kaepernick is…..So, if you have any questions or anything to say, now’s the time. If not, then Ill see you on the practice field..”

  • hdogg48

    I don’t think a punishment is what is called for here.

    I think that he should stand up in front of his teammates and
    apologize for badmouthing other players (JuJu) and thank
    the organization for giving him a second, and third chance.

    Further he should thank everyone involved for their support
    and ask for them to show continued compassion and support
    in his struggles on his journey of recovery from substance abuse.

    Make him eat a little humble pie, and at the same time cut
    him a little slack. As someone who has been sober from
    alcohol and substances for over 29 years I can tell
    you that when you are finally FORCED to deal with issues
    without self medicating yourself can be a tough road to hoe.

    He has to understand that it is not the stats or his future
    contract that are important at this stage of his life.
    It is his ability to build on his emotional state of being
    going forward.

    If the Steelers try to humiliate him by wearing a metaphorical
    dress in front of them, then they will LOSE this special
    talent…FOREVER.

    I use the above example because in the 1970s a friend
    of mine was forced to wear a dress when he had a relapse
    at his heroin addiction rehab clinic. Needless to say
    he died of an overdose within a year of that happening.

  • Alan Tman

    No ask money Mayweather

  • Alan Tman

    Goff went to Cal-Berkeley and didn’t know the sun rose in the East.

  • Alan Tman

    And no it has no relation to education, but neither does making money or being a good person.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I said before but he needs to be banned from social media or if it is possible have him strictly regulated.

    However, after the JuJu comments and all he has said and done up to this point I think you bench him. Like you said Matthew, we don’t really have all of the info as far as locker room goes and what relationships are like but just based off of what we know I sit him.

    I don’t know if I go as far as taking his helmet for a week (though I strongly consider it) but at least a first half benching that sends a clear message. “You need us more than we need you”.

    I know a lot of people talk about fines but with the kind of money these guys make fines are meaningless 99% of the time. It would have to be a large fine to make it worth it and they don’t usually do that.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree and I also think he should ban him from social media,buy juju a new bike and maybe teach him how to drive

  • LHW

    And probably once experiencing that revelation could not deduce that it must then set in the West. And many of these players feel as if they have the comprehension and understanding to protest the anthem? I am not knocking these guys, it is not their fault. They took advantage, and I would too.

  • Ralph Wagner

    The Steelers brought this whole Bryant mess upon themselves. They new or should have known about Bryant’s mental and drug problems before they drafted him. Yet they took a chance and got what they drafted, trouble. Hey sometimes you get what you draft. LOL

    Football used to be fun now there is to much media, face book, and twitter crap going on.
    Such is life and distractions on the football team.

    Go Steelers

  • heath miller

    they found JU JU bike… so thats the major problem solved .. lol.. but i agree get the hell off social media..

  • heath miller

    as you said in the article .. none of us have enough information to make a comment on this … so any comments are purely speculation and how you personally feel given the limited amount of information we have … it is my guess… as always .. the steelers will handle is properly and far better then any of us could do .. i have lots of faith in our front office

  • John Volpe

    His punishment wil be as follows:
    Tomlin will call himm into his office and say “Tey we cant have these distractions” no more social media for a month.

  • francesco

    Tomlin will punish him with words and with a lot of “obviously”.

  • Grimm Reaper

    He’s unhappy with his production….bench him this week against Detroit. See how he enjoys his non-production from the sideline. Martavis Bryant has no dog in this fight. He has just returned from a year suspension for failed drug tests. The league had to wait to fully reinstate him because he refused to fulfill a simple requirement to set up an outpatient rehab appointment. And now he wants to complain about how he’s being used?!!!! Hey Martavis, football is a team sport, and playing for the Steelers especially means “TEAM”. It is a family. It’s not about you and your fantasy stats. It’s about winning a Super Bowl, point, blank, period. This guy needs to grow up. He hasn’t proved anything more yet than that he has the physical tools to “possibly” be a dominant receiver in the league. Until he shows consistency in his game, shows he can mature as a person, and keep his head on straight, Martavis Bryant has no right to open his mouth about anything!

  • John Westbrook

    Not trying to be a smart a#$ but Bryant is not making millions, not with his contract, he won’t even make 100 thousand this year. Maybe his next contract.

  • pcantidote

    You know you could just not look at sites like this and rather just watch the game on Sunday. It is your choice whether or not to be bothered with all of the media and social media.

  • pcantidote

    I don’t need any further information or clarification. He spoke negatively about a teammate to the world. That is totally uncalled for, low class garbage and he should be suspended for a game, and if he doesn’t shut his immature mouth after this, cut him. He really isn’t that valuable to this team anyway. DHB is better.

  • Steve Johnson

    Bingo! Deal with it in house. His trade value deminishes each time he goes on social media and says something stupid. “Hey Martavis.” “If you want to make Millions, run better routes.”

  • Conserv_58

    Tomlin could Gorilla tape Martavis’ mouth shut, take his and his girlfriend’s phones away from them, sit Martavis in a room duct taped to a chair, tape his eye lids open, make him watch films of John Stallworth and Lynn Swann games. If that doesn’t get the desired affect then put on loud country music and shut the door on his way out for the night.

  • NCSteel

    He needs a stern talking to…mister.

  • Conserv_58

    His baby momma shut also be banned from making any references to the Steelers on social media.

  • I4giveSteelers

    no but he is butchering a great language with sounds that hurt the ears. And it really tells the tell about what these kids are actually doing in college

  • MB’s grammar does, however, cause one to wonder what he studied at Clemson. Likewise, it serves to remind us that while we laud our team for their physical prowess, some of its members aren’t nearly as mentally adept.

    Regarding MB, I don’t question his intelligence because he so poorly speaks the English language despite having a [cough, cough] college education. I question it for the reasons expressed on First Take [and by other scribes] in response to his “gotta have mines” antics–namely, that to have a social media ‘trade me’ hissy fit seven games into a season after being suspended a full year for smoking pot repeatedly bespeaks a total ‘me first and only’ indifference to the trust and support as shown to him by Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, Mr. Rooney, and his teammates by NOT throwing him under the bus for the repeated behavior that led to the suspension.

    Speaking of which–the behavior and mindset that led to his suspensions–I suggest that while MB hasn’t again failed the NFL’s drug tests, his current behavior stems from the exact same immaturity and lack of awareness that led to his previous failures in that regard. In other words, MB hasn’t grown one bit as a man or [certainly] as a teammate. He’s only learned [for now] how to 1] put a lid on pot smoking in order to resume his career and 2] how to say all the socially correct platitudes re his ‘former’ addiction. The REAL question that no one seems to be asking is this:

    What did MB expect to happen re his production and the team’s trust [in him to shoulder a major portion of the offense] so soon after missing an entire year of football? Did he think he’d immediately perform at an elite level? And even if he did, what’s the point of his ‘give me the ball or give me a trade’ when he still has over a year and a half under contract with the Steelers? I say this because presumably he has all of this year and the next to re-establish his rapport with Ben, his place in the offense, and his dominance as a receiver…and thus re-establish his contractual value as an elite NFL wideout.

    For MB to be acting as he is so soon in the process, I suggest he never intended to see it through–i.e., that he or his agent thought he’d post stellar stats in 2017 and use those stats as leverage to demand a new high-dollar contract. Ridiculous? Yep. Delusional? Without question! In character? Hmmm…

  • Alan Tman

    This is another way to look down at people. But that’s for you to work out. Have a wonderful day.

  • Alan Tman

    This contract was for 2.6 for four years, and he lost 700,000 so it’s 1.9 million.

  • Alan Tman

    Not to be a smart ass, but which one of your contracts is worth 1.9?

  • Alan Tman

    Goff is white, but you already knew that. Lol

  • Alan Tman

    You ultimately go to school to make money. He’s doing that. Because at this point he’s choosing to be who he is . That’s his choice.

  • Alan Tman

    He’s doing it better than you, and your educated, so go figure.

  • LHW

    It is. I was not belittling him. That does not change the fact he probably has basic intelligence, and that is being generous. It looks as if he won’t be in the league too long anyway – he better save his money. I don’t think he will be getting any high-paying job, especially with any stability, healthcare, or retirement plans. He won’t be making money throughout his life. His behavior since he has bee in the NFL has basically made that a lock. So – he went to college to make money, but hat won’t last and he is not going to make that much. What a shame.

  • LHW

    What does that have to do with the discussion? Trying to say that white people don’t know where the sun rises?

  • LHW

    Still not millions. Especially after the tax man gets him.

  • LHW

    Man. Chill. The guy can’t speak English correctly – that is a fact. Has nothing to with “looking down on people.”

  • Tom

    He did not lose anything. When he was suspended, his contract tolled. He still gets paid the 2.6…..just takes him an extra year to collect.

  • Tom

    Trade him to Cleveland for Sammie Coates.

  • nutty32

    Love and understanding plus clear boundary lines he should not cross again. The whole team will rally around 10. Does no good to challenge guys with 10’s personality as they’ll go into their DGAF mode if feeling oppressed. He just needs positive outlets for his frustrations; don’t keep it bottled up; something besides weed.

  • Alan Tman

    Jealousy is just sad.

  • Doug McFee

    Get him the ball. I was at the game. #7 barely looked his way … All game! It seems to this fan that Ben is laser focused on AB. MB is failing and needs a confidence boost. Get him the ball before this becomes a disaster. We need the kid playing at the top of his game come December & January. Fix this now before it’s too late. Get #10 the ball!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Actually that is exactly a way to look down on somebody. It’s funny, but the fact of the matter is that linguists would be the first to tell you that they’re not bothered at all by vernacular. Every cultural group has always adapted language to its usage. Speech was not gifted unto humanity by the gods. It was created by humans and is a living invention that morphs over time. The only requisite of language is that it is understood by its audience, unless it was intended to be obscure.

  • Rick McClelland

    Yes, proper route running and learning the playbook definitely have a relation to his education level. If you can’t read the playbook or understand what it is telling you, then it is a worthless work instruction with no value. I think MB has made it as far as he has based simply on ability, not smarts. If he was smart, we’d have another receiver the caliber of Antonio Brown who would not have missed time for smoking pot and we’d be much more comfortable on our way to the Super Bowl.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Education and intelligence are different concepts, and there are different forms of intelligence. There are players who have excelled in sports who were unable to read.

  • Rick McClelland

    LOL. I liked that.

  • Rick McClelland

    Matt, I’m pretty sure that education and intelligence are not concepts, but real tangible things that can be achieved or demonstrated. I’m not seeing either from MB and his latest on air segment on the news 5 minutes ago proves it. He’s not playing Sunday and my bet is if he keeps flapping his gums and playing out his life on social media that he will not be playing in Pittsburgh at the end of the season. If he were on my roster he would be punching out and going home.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Regardless, you spoke of education and not intelligence, which is the issue I was addressing. I didn’t suggest that he portrayed himself as intelligent; though using a vernacular derivative of English is not a demonstration of that lack of intelligence.

  • LHW

    Nah. I will make what he made in 10 years. I went to college , undergraduate and graduate to make money and will make money until retirement. When I retire I will have my 401K, Social Security, and my pension. I can also work contractually/reelance in my field after retirement to earn more money should I choose. Does that make me jealous of Martavis? No. Does that make me better than him? No. Those are just facts.

  • LHW

    Good explanation, and I agree to an extent. However, his is not structured vernacular. The English language, as do all other officially recognized languages, consists of formal structure including grammar and punctuation. The vernacular Bryant was speaking could not be taught as it is not composed of any consistent punctuation or grammar. Look – I don’t care – he can speak as poorly or as eloquently as he would like in any language of his choice, but he did butcher the English language in his Tweets. I just made a comment.

  • Alan Tman

    Well receivers are signing 1 year contracts for 8 million a year of his talent, so he’s 25. If you can make what he can you have one helleva job. So your facts don’t really seem like facts. We already disputed your language facts, but that’s for you to figure out. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  • LHW

    I do have a great job. And that was not even including my wife’s salary. Bryant has not signed for “8 million dollars.” That to is an indisputable fact. And he never may. I hope he cleans his act up, signs for 8 million, and saves every penny. And who is “we?” I only see you disputing actual facts, which is strange. I did have a great day – so thanks. I coached 2 soccer games, went to the gym, ran a couple of miles, tried unsuccessfully to this point to fix the heater core in my wife’s VW, and went to a haunted attraction with my youngest daughter and a few of her friends that evening – good times! Raining today – sucks for sure.

  • Alan Tman

    So MB10 makes 2.6 you make 260,000 a year? Wow not bad. Matthew disputed some of your facts, so I would assume you don’t count us as the same person. So unless I am wrong that would be we. More facts that just don’t add up. So let’s just quit now. Shall we?

  • LHW

    Sure thing. I don’t need to prove anything anyway, I was just making a point. I don’t know how I got sucked in discussing my personal life when nobody really cares and it really does not matter. I have learned my lesson. To close out I will emphasize Martavis Bryant needs to save his money because chances are he won’t be making it for very long. Even so, I hope am wrong and I wish him the best.

  • Alan Tman

    You brought up what you make. Lol