Should the New York Jets Punish Bart Scott After Altercation with Reporter?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 30:  Bart Scott #57 of the New York Jets  stands on the sidelines during a preseason game against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on August 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Jets linebacker Bart Scott is not happy with the media's portrayal of the New York Jets as a "circus." On Friday, he made sure no one was laughing. 

Whether he was incited to violence or not, the Jets may have no choice but to fine him.

According to reports, Scott threatened reporter Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential as the reporter snapped a picture of him talking to another reporter.

"I'll smack the s*** out of you," Scott yelled at him. "And I'm going to sue you," Leberfeldfired back. The two were separated by Jets media relations director Bruce Speight and another member of the PR staff. Scott looked furious as he backed off and left the room.

This was not an isolated incident. On Wednesday, Leberfeld took a picture of Scott speaking with another female reporter. When that reporter noticed Leberfeld taking the picture, she became upset and left the room.

Scott recently declared a media boycott after being unhappy with the way he and the team have been portrayed. Leberfeld said he was taking the pictures to prove that Scott was still speaking with reporters.

The history between Scott and Leberfeld isn't even isolated to just their personal encounters these past few days. Leberfeld's ad for the most recent issue of his magazine says that it "expose[s] Bart's friend who started the 'circus' talk. It wasn't the media, it was Bart's friend." The friend is former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, now with the San Francisco 49ers.

Even if Leberfeld had provoked Scott—and the string of evidence suggests that to be the case—the linebacker reacted in a way he shouldn't have, and for that, he will likely be punished in some degree.

But the punishment isn't the story here. The real story is the crime.

How far things have come from nearly two years ago, when Scott gave his now-infamous "can't wait" postgame interview with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

Even before that point, Scott had come to embody everything the Jets stood for—toughness, intensity and a smash-mouth style—both on and off the field. 

That's just who he is. Whether things are good or bad, he doesn't dial it back—that also goes for on and off the field.

The same personality that made him a media darling has now made him a media punching bag.

But Scott is not free of blame.

If the Jets truly are a media "circus," Bart would be wise not to feed the animals. This isn't the first time he's gotten into it with a reporter. The "madbacker" also lost his cool with a photographer following the team's final loss of the 2011 season to the Miami Dolphins, telling the photographer to "get that f***ing [camera] out of my face," an incident for which he was fined.

He'll likely be punished once again, because if the Jets want to put an end to the media circus, they also have to put an end to the funny business going on in their locker room.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.