FLORHAM PARK, NJ – When I was given the opportunity to be a staff writer for the JetsInsider.com, I felt very fortunate. Not only do I have the ability to meet the players I have grown up watching, but I get critique their performance and get “insider” information, so to speak.
I was fully prepared to take on the developmental breakdown of Rex Ryan’s 3-4 blitzing schemes. But nothing could have prepared me for the media blitz the 2010 New York Jets have laid on the NFL world this season.
From racy photos, to DUIs, to the lore of Sal the Tripper, to the finer art of sexual harassment, this Jets season has been filled with more off-the-field headlines than any other NFL team. Yet, despite all the off-the-field attention, more tabloid gossip continues to pile up on the Jets backs.
This time it’s involving head coach Rex Ryan and his wife, Michelle, and their intimate relations regarding Michelle’s feet.
To be honest, I got into the business because of my love for sports, not gossiping about a 50-something year old coach and his sexual preferences with his beloved wife. The question of morality is raised as soon as reporters ask ten different ways about this home movie that indicts the couple with a foot fetish.
I would have loved nothing to more brush over this story quicker than Kris Jenkins passing over the steamed broccoli at Christmas dinner, but when owner Woody Johnson chooses to speak out on the recent Jets media blunder, then I’m left with no choice.
Johnson took to the podium yesterday afternoon to address Sal the Tripper and Ryan’s foot fetish allegations, as he had to answer a bevy of questions regarding the two blunders.
Asked to comment on Ryan’s foot fetish video, Johnson replied with an answer similar to Ryan’s the past few days, “It is a private matter”. No surprise there, as that is the perfect answer to give.
“My reaction is I don’t really want to talk about that in terms of I’m going to respect Rex and how he wanted to characterize it. It’s a personal matter and that’s the way it is,” Johnson said.
After it became clear that this situation involving Ryan and his wife was and would continue to remain a personal matter, the topic of conversation turned to Sal Alosi and his status. If you remember, Alosi’s initial penalty for tripping a Dolphins player two weeks ago was a $25,000 fine and suspension for the remainder of the season. But after more information was dug up by the Jets internal investigation, Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum suspended him indefinitely.
“Sal was suspended indefinitely,” Johnson said. “Indefinitely is a pretty long time. We’re focused on the season. We’re focused on the Chicago Bears at this point.”
As they should be. With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Jets – as an entire organization – must remain focused solely on winning these finals games, as there are no guarantees the Jets will make the playoffs.
And since it is crunch time for the Jets and the rest of the NFL, Johnson will not be making any more decisions regarding Alosi until there is ample time to do so.
“I’m not really putting it off. We’ve looked at what he did. I don’t know if I said this, but I did apologize to [Dolphins owner] Mr. [Stephen] Ross and asked if his player [Nolan Carroll] was OK. He asked me that the player was fine. He accepted the apology,” Johnson said.
Aside from touching on his apology to the Miami Dolphins and their owner, Johnson also extended an apology to the New England Patriots and their owner, Robert Kraft. The apology came on the heels of special teams coach Mike Westoff throwing “that team up north” under the bus when the illegal “wall formation” came to light. On a radio show in Chicago, Westoff rattled off the Patriots as one of few other teams that also utilized an illegal wall during punts.
“I called Bob about any comment that we may have made and how he may have interpreted those comments,” Johnson said. “Our job is not to insult another team, particularly from a coach or owner’s standpoint. [We don’t want to insult] another team’s coaches or players. That’s not what we do here.”
What the Jets needed to do was exactly this. Send out their figure-head in Johnson and clear the air of any speculation and gossip that has been surrounding this team in recent weeks. Let’s hope this will be the last chapter for the Alpha Class of t
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