From “Hard Knocks,” to Rex Ryan flipping the bird at a UFC fight in Florida, to Darrelle Revis holding out for more dough, to the entire Inez Sainz incident, the 2010 season has been a media rollercoaster for the New York Jets.
The Jets, one of the most talked about football teams in recent memory, are (surprise) once again dealing with a controversy: wide receiver Braylon Edwards getting a DWI in Manhattan.
The fact that Edwards is driving around intoxicated through the Big Apple is not why most outsiders are persecuting the Jets’ organization; it is because his punishment does not fit the crime.
The Jets, the new “Bad Boys” of the NFL, have decided to let Edwards play in Sunday’s divisional game against the Miami Dolphins. The only ‘punishment’ imposed on the former Michigan stand-out is that he won’t start the game.
Maybe the most comical aspect of all this is the complete lack of credibility exerted by Ryan and the owner, Woody Johnson.
Ryan said he was tired of all the negative attention his players are drawing to the organization, yet he does the exact same thing with his own antics. He is a great coach but a hypocrite off the playing field.
Johnson is also acting without a real sense of authority, especially when he has the power to do it. He persecuted his team for behaving the way they did with the entire Inez Sainz incident, and then he called Edwards’ idiocy more of a sad matter than an embarrassing one.
If Ryan and Johnson are both obviously upset with Edwards’ behavior, why are they allowing him to play Sunday?
It is a decision purely based on the be-all, end-all in terms of sports: winning.
Ryan has to win games to keep his job, let alone measure up to the stratospheric hype put on this team by him and the national media.
Johnson wants to win now and he has the team to do it. He doesn’t want his organization to be the laughingstock of the league, let alone the comical team in the New York area.
It presents a double standard we have seen time and time again in terms of athletes not receiving legitimate penalties for their off-field actions, except in the court of public opinion.
Winning games trumps moral values each and every day in our 24/7 ESPN world, so even momentarily thinking the Jets would handle this situation correctly was like reaching for something that wasn’t there.
He will be out there Sunday, catching balls and trying to help his team win. But maybe what he will ultimately end up celebrating is being on the field in the first place.