Former NFL player Antonio Brown backs Donald Trump, cites pardons for hip-hop figures

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Former NFL player Antonio Brown is known for saying virtually anything that is on his mind.

The outspoken Super Bowl champion recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with OutKick. The conversation eventually shifted to politics, with author Nick Adams asking Brown about the origins of his perceptive affinity for former President Trump.

“I’ve never met him. I’ve got admiration for his business moves and I study his dad Fred Trump. But, I think Donald Trump is a good businessman and come[s] from a good family and has been a good president,” Brown told Adams.

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Antonio Brown smiles

Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up for the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Adams later asked Brown if he was backing Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

“Are you endorsing Trump?” Brown declared.

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Brown cited the pardons and commutations Trump granted in his final days in the Oval Office in 2021.

“I think he does some great things for my brothers in the music industry in regards to Lil Wayne, Kodak [Black].”

Antonio Brown at the Super Bowl in 2022

Antonio Brown attends Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports)

In the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, five-time Grammy Award winner Lil Wayne met with Trump at a Florida golf club. The encounter culminated with a photo of the rapper standing next to the politician – which was shared on Wayne’s social media account. 

Just a few weeks after the meeting, Wayne was charged with felony gun possession. He proceeded to enter a guilty plea. At the time, the music star faced up to a decade in prison.

But, Wayne’s sentencing never happened, as the hip-hop artist was among the 143 pardons and commutation announced by the former president on his final day in office. On Jan. 21, 2021, Wayne thanked Trump for granting his pardon.

Lil Wayne performs

Lil Wayne performs during Lil Weezyana at Champions Square on Oct. 29, 2022, in New Orleans. (Getty Images)

Desiree Perez, the CEO of Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation and founder of Death Row Records, was also on the list of individuals who received pardons or commutations. The string of decisions by Trump seemed to cap a lengthy, yet complicated relationship between the former president and the hip-hop industry.

Brown also called on Trump to help “free Young Thug.” The rapper is currently standing trial before an Atlanta jury. The hip-hop star, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, was arrested in Atlanta in May 2022 and is charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for an offense dating to January 2013, and suspicion of participating in criminal street gang activity. 

“Trump… if you’re watching this you need to free Young Thug if you could help out,” Brown said.

Only a sitting U.S. president can grant a pardon or commutation of federal charges. The pardons or commutations do not apply to state charges or any other charges.

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Brown appeared in seven games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. A shirtless Brown famously jogged to the stadium tunnel in the third quarter of a game against the New York Jets.

Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, who spent two seasons with Brown in Tampa Bay, later acknowledged the wide receiver would no longer be a member of the team.

“I mean that’s obviously a difficult situation and I think we all want him to – I think everybody should find, hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said in the postgame press conference. “We all love him, we care about him deeply, we want to see him be at his best, and unfortunately it won’t be with our team.”

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