This past Monday was Black Monday and clean out day, every year the day after the season officially ends the coach and the GM hold a post-mortem press conference to discuss the good and the bad of the season and shed light on the direction the team will take in the offseason.
This did not happen this past Monday and may whatever god you believe in have mercy on all of our football loving souls for everything that followed the postponing of said presser.
Since we’re going to be touching on the topic of “professionalism” and “journalistic ethics,” it’s important to get this out of the way, there won’t be much journalism involved with this 100 percent opinion column. I will use my three years of experience covering the Jets to offer up my viewpoint on the state of the Jets as an organization and the the state of the media. Now while I admit this is not a journalistic piece of writing, hell just using I technically destroys that, I will still keep this professional, sorry to disappoint those that were hoping otherwise.
There have been countless times I drove to Florham Park, sat in the pressers, watched practice, walked into the locker room for quotes and on my way home thought to myself ‘well that was a quiet and uneventful day,’ only to get home and see on TV or Twitter that apparently all hell had broke loose right in front of my eyes and I was somehow oblivious to the whole thing.
Words get cherry-picked and twisted into the dimension of journalism where the rules of context don’t apply and there have been a few times I shook my head in disbelief at what was reported thinking, ‘yeah, see that just never happened.’
I can think of plenty of specific examples and I’m positive I’ve forgotten even more of either of those things happening, but I can’t and won’t get into the specifics or single anybody out. My job is to cover the Jets, not the media. Whenever a report would come out that I felt came out of nowhere I would be very vocal about reporting what I saw and heard with my eyes and ears on Twitter and have occasionally written about the media blowing things out of proportion on this site because it’s my responsibility to my followers and readers to report what I have seen and know to be true or not be true. It’s not my job to just go along with what other writers are reporting, but at the same time it’s not my job or my place to report on other writers.
When I start dissecting the problems with the media it’s going to sound like I’m throwing a blanket over every single reporter that covers the Jets, but that’s not what I’m doing. Obviously I don’t see myself in that light and there are a number of good people and good reporters that cover the Jets and honestly none of them are bad reporters, it’s not even the reporters I’m taking issue with as much as their employers and the culture that leads to the need for sensationalism and tabloid style headlines.
I get that that’s what sells to some degree, but considering football is by far this country’s favorite sport and the vast amount of real serious die hard football fans there are one would like to think you can sell just as many papers and get just as many clicks on your site if you just write quality football articles with substance. It’s 2013, look around the Internet/Twitter, there are millions of football fans who have set up virtual housing on the Internet/Twitter to soak in all the tangible football information they can.
If you’re covering football those are the fans you should want reading your material, otherwise it’s a disservice to everyone. Maybe it’s because I was naive enough to think, ‘hey how awesome would it be to get a job covering football since that’s all I talk about anyway,’ that I’m shocked by how little football actually gets talked about on the Jets beat.
Football is what I love most in this world, after the season is over I spend just as much time watching free agency, watching tape of college games and reading scouting reports to prepare for the draft as if I actually had a say in who teams should draft, as I spend on football during the season. Maybe it’s just because I love football so much that it hurts me soul to hear people talk about everything but football, to grasp at straws for headlines depriving the real die hard football fans of the quality material they are so eagerly searching for.
Whatever the reasons are over the past three season I have seen, as they say, how the sausage gets made and it’s every bit as ugly as how actual sausage gets made, I’m sure of it and it’s for this reason I applaud Woody Johnson and the Jets organization for how they have handled everything these past few days (just these past few days though, Johnson and the Jets are obviously not without blame here).
On Monday, Johnson sent out a press release announcing Mike Tannenbaum had been fired, then the Jets postponed (postponed not canceled as I saw many people reporting, it had always just been postponed and I believe that was key in what was ultimately announced by the Pro Football Writer’s Association) Ryan’s presser and reporters were none to happy and here’s the disconnect between me and some of the other reporters, I didn’t think it was a big deal or even a small deal.
After all what information could we have possibly hoped to get out of Ryan on Monday? Sure we could have got a couple answers about what went wrong this season, but anything about next season can’t be answered or even thought about (hence the reason Ryan’s vacation was perfectly timed) until a new GM is hired and in place. So what useful information could Ryan have given us at that presser, which usually has a GM involved, even if he wanted to?
Which brings us to the other part of why it’s a non-deal, Ryan hasn’t said anything useful in a presser in months, over the past three years there has been a drastic shift in Ryan’s press conference behavior. He used to just talk and talk and talk, sometimes he’d talk certain players up too much, but everything else was straight forward and honest with plenty of jokes sprinkled in. I used to joke that a Ryan presser was part football coach presser, part 15-20 standup routine, now if you told me the reason reason Ryan has lost all that weight was because he has had all the fun sucked out of him I might be willing to disregard science just to believe that as fact.
Ryan brought a lot of this on himself, though I believe that was his master plan. He played the game and put himself out there to deflect the attention and blame on his shoulders, but there were many times he should have known better than to say what he said, he should have known how his words would be painted. He played into the media’s trap and after slowly wearing him down they finally clamped on him.
Still others thought postponing the presser was huge deal, a slap in the face to the fans they said. Yeah, sure, it’s because of the fans. If it was ever about the actual fans the Tebow experiment would have been a footnote to the season instead of the dominating topic. So some took to filing a complaint against the Jets for breaking NFL policy and made remarks about the Jets being unprofessional.
Oh how I love irony, Jet beat writers talking about professionalism and filing a complaint against the Jets is like the wolf crying wolf. It makes sense that the presser was postponed because there’s no GM in place, but part of me hopes it was just Johnson chin-checking the media. The tail has been wagging the dog for far too long and he can’t continue to foolishly play into it any longer.
Some called for the Jets to be stripped of draft picks or fined a million dollars, you have to send a message that no one dare disrespect the media ever again and as much as I wish it was a message disrespecting the media that’s not what it was, but it’s typical of the self-absorbed media to make it all about them.
Listen as a journalist you have to be a tad narcissistic, I have to say how I see things because I’m smart and everyone needs to listen to me, hell that’s pretty much the gist of this column. I don’t mean for it to be, I wouldn’t describe myself as a narcissist, but I won’t deny I got some narcissism in me and it tends to come out in writing. But for writers to get so upset and offended, to be so sanctimonious to make this about them being deprived of a Ryan presser where he would give nothing but non-answers just seems ridiculous and continues to wildly misled their readers.
All year long we have heard about the circus that is the New York Jets, but the only thing that changed this year was Tim Tebow and the media coverage that followed. It’s not Tebow’s fault he commands this type of attention, it’s the media’s fault for selling out for the headlines and web clicks by any means necessary.
There was absolutely a circus around the 2012 Jets, but it was the media playing the part of the tamed lion, elephants, trapeze artists and the bearded lady. Johnson and Ryan have to take some blame for renting out their property to the circus and providing enough supplies for the circus to continue, but the media was leading this circus. The media dictates the narrative around the Jets much more than the Jets do nowadays and that’s a problem.
So after days of complaining about the Jets breaking the rules and slapping “fans” in the face with their silence and claims that they should face severe punishments for this transgression, what did they PFWA have to say on the matter? Basically they told everyone to pipe down, go play somewhere we’re busying. They’ll talk to you when they’re good and ready, deal with it. Okay so that’s not exactly what they said, but it could certainly be interpreted that way.
Yesterday the PFWA tweeted, “The PFWA is satisfied that the New York Jets are following the spirit of the rules in making their executives available on Tuesday. There is good reason for the NFL’s rule requiring teams to make a top executive available to communicate with the fans through the media within seven days after the end of the season. After discussing the circumstances with the Jets, we look forward to hearing from owner Woody Johnson and coach Ryan on Tuesday.”
So basically strip them of draft picks and fine them a million dollars even though your formal complaint basically got you a hearty laugh in your face and you wonder why fans, players and coaches don’t take anything you say seriously. Of course this isn’t where it stops, we all knew that couldn’t be the end. Nope, now we get Ryan taking a vacation, if you think he shouldn’t be taking a short vacation now (when there’s nothing for him to do since he doesn’t have a boss) I can’t help your lost soul find it’s path again, you’re well beyond my reach.
But naturally it’s not just the vacation, the New York Daily News got a picture of Ryan sunbathing paparazzi style. In the picture you can clearly see a tattoo on Ryan’s right arm, the tattoo is of his wife in a number six Sanchez jersey and, gasp, nothing else!
What’s the big deal say all the reasonable thinking people who are bound by some sort of logic and common sense? Hell if I know, but apparently people seem to actually think this is part of the reason why Ryan stuck with Sanchez as his starter for so long. Because apparently it’d be silly to think it was because they didn’t have any better options or to think, who knows when he got that tattoo? Or usually when you go for a generic jersey choice it’s the quarterback’s number that gets chosen or that any coach in any sport would stick with a player just because of a tattoo that could easily be changed. The tattoo has to be a sign showing his undying love and support for Sanchez, clearly it’s not about his love and support for his wife and the Jets, who would get a tattoo like that?
More importantly though, I can’t believe I have to talk about this. Seriously I cover a football team and I’m talking about a paparazzi style picture of a tattoo on a coach sunbathing on vacation in the Bahamas. This can’t be life.
This is what the Jets beat has turned into and it breaks my heart. A million different topics to discuss and we end up focused on the one story that matters the least. The fans deserve better, as Jet beat writers our job is to bring you relevant news with substance, instead we get this and a non-stop quest for drama and sensationalism.
Remember when Santonio Holmes called out the media not too long ago? Holmes took it too far by implying all media should basically just work as PR for the Jets, but his general intended point was valid. Just as journalists/reporters can’t go out of our way to make the Jets look good, we shouldn’t go out of our way to make the Jets look bad, but far too often that’s the case. The Jets finished 6-10 and are treated as the laughing stock of the league, because it’s all people want to talk about. Last year it was the same thing, playoffs still going and the Jets are at home, but let’s keep talking about them for cheap laughs.
Most of the time it’s not the local beat writers, it’s the national media that twists things out of context to make a joke out of the Jets, but this season the beat writers were far to eager to play into and extend the joke instead of actually talking about football related matters. A reporter’s job is to provide their readers with valuable information they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise, not to force a narrative in a desperate ploy for headlines and attention. Every time a reporter takes the easy route to drum up drama or headlines they are doing a disservice to their readers who want quality football information.
Being irate that the Ryan presser was postponed can only be attributed to laziness, there are a million different stories to be written now that have nothing to do with anything Ryan could say. Talk about the GM search and all the possible candidates, and although the Jets can’t start making decisions on re-signing their own free agents or free-agents from other teams that shouldn’t stop the media from laying out possible options for the team to consider. The new GM will make the calls on draft day, but Jet fans are foaming at the mouth waiting to hear who that might be. These are all topics that will be discussed here on JetsInsider.com in the near future, but these are also just a small sample size of the endless possible football related topics other writers could be discussing instead of spending their energy filing complaints.
Everyone knows sex sells, but the next best thing is anything negative. Negativity sells, sensationalism sells, I get all that, but with such a huge market of millions of knowledgable football fans looking to expand their reading on football, quality football articles will sell just as well. Hopefully one day someone in the mainstream media will realize this, until then you’re just going to have to fight the urge to believe the forced narratives and search long and hard for the information of actual value.
Hopefully we here at JetsInsider can do our part to provide you with said valuable information and help you see through the cloudy haze of misleading narratives.
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