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New York Jets Fight Back Against the Media; Beat Writers Not Too Happy

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: Rex Ryan (L) addresses the media during a press conference after being introduced as the new Head Coach of the New York Jets as Owner Woody Johnson (C) and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum look on at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on January 21, 2009 in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Andy Marlin/Getty Images
Rocco ConstantinoContributor IJanuary 2, 2013

After years of being ridiculed, treated unprofessionally and being the victims of "anonymous source" character assassinations, the New York Jets are finally fighting back against the New York media.

Needless to say, that has the Jets beat writers in quite a tizzy.

 

Jets are a well-oiled machine: Coach & owner have yet to talk about firing a man who worked for team for 15 yrs orreportedly fired OC #nyj

Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) January 2, 2013

 

Yes, this is the same Manish Mehta of the Daily News who used multiple anonymous sources in an article in November to rip apart Tim Tebow.  The gist of the article may have been right, but using sources like "another Jets source," "a Jets official," and "a member of the organization" didn't do anything to help Mehta's reputation or status with the team.

This issue has roots way before the Mehta article, though.

Perhaps the first media member to consistently attack the Jets no matter what they do was WFAN radio's Mike Francesa.  Long ago, the Jets cut off access to the team for Francesa, so he's responded with a four-year rant against the franchise in retaliation.

Moving on from there, the media got personal when the Daily News ran with a story about Rex Ryan's wife's uncomfortably strange foot-fetish videos.  

Bill Hutchinson of the Daily News ran the initial story on Dec. 21, 2010, and continued well past the point of its relevance with another story about the videos and pictures on New Year's Eve.

Mind you, the second story came out 10 days later when the Jets were ending their regular season and preparing for the playoffs.

If the media's responsibility is to provide the fans important news and insight, who are they serving by talking about Ryan's wife's feet three days before Week 17?

Since then, it's been one incident after another where the Jets beat writers were all too happy to kick the team while they were down or create their own circus.  

Ryan's candor started changing in the season's final months.  His press conferences, once ripe with wit, smiles and self-deprecation became filled with monotonous, mumbling coach-speak, resembling Eric Mangini's pressers at their worst.

Things have really slid downhill with the Jets' beat writers over the last week of the season, though.

The Monday after the season, Mike Tannenbaum was fired after 15 years with the organization and Woody Johnson addressed the coaches in a closed-door meeting.  With beat writers salivating about a Ryan press conference scheduled for 4:45 p.m. that day, the Jets promptly pulled the rug out from under them and cancelled it.

This sent writers off the cliff.  

Over the two days since then (yes, it's only been two days), the writers have taken to Twitter in an all-out whine-fest led by Mehta and ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, with others chipping in as well.

 

This just in: Neither Rex Ryan nor Woody Johnson will be available today to comment on, like, everything. #Jets

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) January 2, 2013

 

 

 

The Jets, who pride themselves on "transparency," were the only NFL team not to make their head coach available to the media yesterday. #nyj

Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) January 1, 2013

 

 

 

You can't keep hiding, Rex. You either, Woody.

— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 2, 2013

 

 

 

@lilmissnyjet 3. Part of the Jets problem is professionalism. The way they have conducted the postseason is emblematic of that problem.

— Jane McManus (@janesports) January 2, 2013

 

 

 

Woody and Rex continue to cower behind closed doors. Team says neither will be available again today #noaccountability

— NYPost_Cannizzaro (@MarkCannizzaro) January 2, 2013

 

 

 

I understand u guys think we're whining but Woody and Rex have always preached transparency. This is the opposite.

— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) January 2, 2013

 

 

Those are just a few examples of the complaints the media has taken to Twitter with.  For those who don't follow the happenings of the Jets reporters on Twitter regularly, this should give you even further insight into what the atmosphere has been like.

Over a two-hour period on Jan. 2, Cimini has posted four tweets and one full-length article complaining about the Jets' lack of a press conference while Mehta has posted three tweets and an additional full-length article.

All of this ponders the question, what do they want to hear?  

Ryan is going to have to talk by the end of the week as per NFL policy anyway.  Incidentally, this was pointed out by Cimini in the equivalent of someone breaking out the rulebook during a game of Monopoly to point out that a player does indeed have to go to jail after rolling three consecutive doubles.   

Jets fans know all they need to know right now.  They know Johnson wasn't happy with the results of the season, he hired an outside consulting firm (a common practice in the NFL) and they suggested a firing of the general manager.

Fans also know that the new general manager search is under way and a new GM will continue forward with decisions on the coaching staff and personnel.

There is no other pertinent information that is needed at this minute for anyone.

Fans now have to realize though (if they haven't already) that these writers have an agenda with the Jets going forward.  Fans need to be smart enough to decide for themselves if any future articles are based in actual truth or are meant to slander the franchise that has so enraged them.

A perfect example of this slanted reporting came from Mehta in a tweet on the morning of Jan. 2.

 

Meanwhile, nearly 72 hours after report that Tony Sparano will be fired, Jets are letting OC twist in the wind until further notice. #nyj

Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) January 2, 2013

 

Mehta is fine to report that no decision has yet been made on the future of Sparano. However, how does Mehta know what Sparano has been told privately?  

Every coach has been addressed by Johnson and can't expect any changes to be made until a new general manager is in place.  

All of a sudden, though, Mehta is an authority on how long an NFL coach should have to wait to be fired after writers report initially that he will be fired.

This entire incident should be a wake-up call for Jets fans.  

Just because some perceived expert says something about your team on the radio, on Twitter or in an article doesn't mean it's right.

Look or the agenda of the writer and their past reputation for covering the team.  

Very few Jets beat writers have a clean reputation among fans and that number is decreasing by the hour.

Not one writer has even brought up the possibility that the Jets may have decided not to speak to the media until a new general manager is in place.  They've just been sinking to petty finger-pointing and rulebook-waving through Twitter.  

Ryan and the Jets will speak when they are good and ready; just don't expect them to say much anymore.  

Fans have been standing up to the reporters and seeing through their agendas based on some responses on Twitter, and that's a good sign.  

 

@richcimini hopefully this is how the jets continue to treat the media. Watching you vultures chase the OC was as funny as any butt fumble

— Michael Heit (@HeitMikekh4) January 1, 2013

 

 

 

@mmehtanydn being a bit harsh, Owner may have him under a no comment phase for now. think it's you media types who want more drama.

screpea (@screpea) January 2, 2013


 

 

 

 

The Jets stunk in 2012, there's no doubt about it.  Fans are entitled to their opinions and should develop those based on what they know about sports and what they see on the field.  

Their opinions shouldn't be swayed by a group of reporters willing to cash in by painting their franchise as a circus and criticizing every move they make.  

 

Help us continue to fight the good fight and stand up for our team.  Follow RC Cos and the Jets BR Report on Twitter: @BR_Jets_Report

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