NASHVILLE — In a Super Bowl LIV moment made for tweets, thousands of them, Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce screamed in Andy Reid's face and bumped his coach off balance.
Travis Kelce looked less than enthused pic.twitter.com/yncKhjtNl4— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) February 12, 2024
Condemnations of Kelce's behavior, paired with the provocative video and still images of the sideline confrontation, flooded the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). One responder, believed to be former Tennessee Titans receiver and current Philadelphia Eagle A.J. Brown, said: "If that was me I would be kicked out of the league."
Moments later, the same account sent another now-deleted tweet saying it wasn't Brown behind the sentiments.
"This is a fake AJ brown page. I’m just a fan. I’m not trying to get him in trouble with what I say, lol." The account then went inactive.
Eagles cornerback Darius Slay responded on his account to say, "Just talk to AJ, that wasn't him..."
AJ Brown didn’t mince his words 😬 pic.twitter.com/rBuUdbQPv7— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) February 12, 2024
It's unclear if Brown was responsible for the tweet about Kelce's outburst. The account had been inactive since Jan. 10, five days before the Eagles lost a playoff game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first tweets since then — about Kelce and Reid — were posted during the Super Bowl and were deleted less than 30 minutes after publication.
But not before attracting some attention.
Tyreek Hill, the All-Pro receiver with the Miami Dolphins, re-tweeted Brown's reaction. Observers believed Hill was suggesting that Kelce's race was why he got away with his outburst. Kelce is white. A.J. Brown is Black.
You involved race , so don’t try that buddy 🥲 https://t.co/vOSb3sIXTz— Ty Hill (@cheetah) February 12, 2024
Hill said his tweet was more about comparative market size, that Kelce would get less scrutiny in Kansas City than he would in Philadelphia.
Talented players have always gotten away with more. A.J. Brown is an example. He's gotten into physical altercations and didn't get expelled from the league.
Race can be a conspicuous fact in the NFL. More than half of the players are black. 10 percent of NFL ownership are people of color. There are three Black head coaches.
The NFL's Rooney Rule, established in 2003, incentivizes teams to hire and promote minority coaches. A hiring quota was added to the rule before the 2022 season. But Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores and Jim Trotter, an Athletic sports writer, have ongoing litigation against the NFL for discriminatory hiring practices.
Ultimately, we should always call out racism when its there, however the Kelce situation seemed more about Reid's willingness to quickly forgive one of the most valuable players on his team, one he has known for 11 years.
“He keeps me young,” Reid said on CBS’ post-game show after the Chiefs' 25-22 overtime victory. “He tested that hip out. He caught me off balance – normally, I’d give him a little bit, but I didn’t have any feet under me.”
“The part I love is that he loves to play the game and he wants to help his team win,” Reid told reporters. “It’s not a selfish thing, that’s not what it is, and I understand that.
“So as much as he bumps into me, I get after him and we understand that.” In fact, during a heated moment in December between Reid and Kelce, the coach bumped his tight end with a shoulder.
Kelce told ESPN after the Super Bowl that he was going to keep what was said “between us” and joked that he was just telling Reid “how much I love him.”
“I got the greatest coach this game has ever seen,” Kelce told reporters after the game. “He’s helped me a lot with that, with channeling that emotion, with channeling that passion and I owe my entire career to that guy and being able to kind of control how emotional I get.
“I just love him, man.”
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