Belichick gives death stare after perfectly reasonable question about Antonio Brown

Asked about Antonio Brown on Sunday morning, Bill Belichick trotted out a variant of his trademark cranky “We’re on to Cincinnati” act. But what was once cute and curmudgeonly now feels as dated as an “NFL’s Hardest Hits” VCR tape.

To bring you up to date: The Patriots claimed they had no idea there were sexual assault allegations against Brown out in the air when they signed him ... and yet they kept him on the roster even though Robert Kraft said he wouldn’t have signed Brown had he known. Then another woman came forward accusing Brown of sexual assault, and still he remained on the roster. After that, text messages surfaced in which Brown appeared to call for an attack on the second accuser’s credibility. A few hours after that, Brown was off the Patriots.

So when CBS’s Dana Jacobson got a moment with Belichick prior to Sunday’s game with the Jets, there was an obvious question: Why now, at last?

Nothing like a bit of dead-eyed sanctimony when you’re getting asked a perfectly valid question about why you carried water for a guy only until he wasn’t useful anymore. The Patriots had multiple opportunities to cut Brown prior to Friday, but kept him in uniform as long as it was politically sustainable.

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Antonio Brown with the New England Patriots
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Antonio Brown with the New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Jomal Wiltz (33) attempts to defend, during the first half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
MIAMI , MA. - SEPTEMBER 15: Antonio Brown #17 of the New England Patriots celebrates his first down catch during the first quarter of the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami , Florida. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
MIAMI , MA. - SEPTEMBER 15: Tom Brady #12 and Antonio Brown #17 of the New England Patriots bump fists during the second quarter of the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami , Florida. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown works out during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Brown to practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, a day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown works out during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Brown practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, a day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown works out during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Brown practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, a day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown works out during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Brown practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, a day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, walks on the field near wide receiver Antonio Brown (1) as Brown works out during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Brown practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, a day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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Jacobson will no doubt get plenty of grief from the kind of fans who believe a team is a religion, coaches are high priests and players are useful but disposable. But she asked the right question at the right time, and Belichick’s scowl only proves she was on point. Nobody on earth — probably not even most of the Patriots — cares about Belichick’s perspective on the woeful Jets, but the way Antonio Brown has clowned the entire league — Belichick included — is the most fascinating story of the year.

This isn’t the first time Belichick has dodged questions about AB. Friday, before Brown’s release, Belichick ended a news conference in a hurry after reporters wouldn’t stop asking about the most newsworthy story of the week.

Belichick can run the Patriots any way he pleases — carving rosters with all the compassion that you’d slice a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, staring down anyone who’s not of immediate use to him — and results show that it works for him. But we’re outside the walls of Gillette Stadium now, and the rest of the world doesn’t need to play by Belichick’s rules. Brown certainly isn’t anymore, and it’s valid to ask why, after 11 days of welcome-to-the-family love, the Patriots suddenly decided he was too much trouble after all.

It’s clear the Patriots screwed up by signing Brown in the first place, and then by hanging onto him afterward. The Patriots don’t make many mistakes, but this was a big one, and it’s time for Belichick to own up to it. Without mumbling or scowling, either.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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