Braylon Edwards Fiasco: New York Jets Make the Right Decision To Play Him

Joe CipollaContributor ISeptember 22, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 16:  Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets looks on during their game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Braylon Edwards is a jackass. His actions are reprehensible and he deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law he so callously violated. 

The article begins this way because I don’t want anyone to believe that I support his behavior in any way. Driving intoxicated at twice the legal limit…he might as well have been playing with a loaded gun a la Plaxico Burress!

With that being said…

The outcries for Edwards to be suspended, cut, deactivated, and so on are ridiculous.

Let’s be realistic now. The Jets acquired Braylon Edwards knowing full well the kind of person he is. He has been involved in a number of off-field incidents, including a nightclub fight (where he decked a friend of LeBron James) only days before he was traded to the Jets. 

The overall consensus is the Browns traded Edwards because they had had enough of his bad behavior. Although Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini wouldn't say if Edwards' altercation played a part in the timing of his trade, he did say “personal conduct is important to me.” 

Point made.

Now let's take a look at the Jets organization. Let's face it: they’re not going for that classy, upstanding, inspirational team persona. Maybe they figured the Yankees already set that standard for New York.

The Jets are brash, boisterous, and loudmouth trash talkers. The Ines Sainz incident and the profanity-laden episodes of Hard Knocks displayed this over and over again. One has to look no further than the “shake weight” episode to see their frat-house atmosphere as the double entendres and immaturity dripped off the TV screen.

The Jets courted and signed players like Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie already aware of their off-field problems because they can play. They wanted players who can help them win games no matter what the cost.

So, the Jets should be morally outraged that Edwards behaved in a manner consistent to his past?  

The Jets should take disciplinary action against Edwards to make a point to the team that this behavior will not be tolerated?

The answer to both questions? No.

Frankly, it’s too late for the Jets to do something about the reputation they have created. Getting tough on Edwards is not going to fix it, and why would they want to put the team in jeopardy of losing games just to make a point.

Actually, because of the collective bargaining agreement (which prohibits a team from suspending or deactivating a player for an alcohol-related offense), the Jets cannot take any disciplinary action against Edwards. 

So what can the Jets do? Well, they have already decided. Edwards will ride the pine at the start of the Sunday night game against the Miami Dolphins, and it will be Rex Ryan’s decision as to when he will see playing time. They can’t bench him for the entire game because that could be interpreted as a violation of the CBA. 

Basically, Edwards will probably be benched for the first few offensive series, maybe the entire first quarter depending on how the offense performs. If the Jets find themselves in an early hole, expect to see him play sooner than later.

Now, it is up to the league and Roger Goodell to decide if he’s violated the substance abuse policy and/or the player conduct policy. Edwards has already been arraigned and will be back in court on November 9 to answer the charges. It’s safe to assume that he’ll plea no-contest to a lesser charge and look to be fined.

The big question remains if he will face jail time for violating the probation he is still serving stemming from the Cleveland nightclub incident. The judge in that case has been notified of his New York arrest.

We’ll probably have to wait until that all plays out before Goodell makes a decision on punishment. By that time, the 2010 season will be over and Edwards will be looking for a new team to play for.

Edwards is in a contract year, and unless he morphs into Jerry Rice, this incident most likely sealed his fate of having no chance of the Jets re-signing him.