FLORHAM PARK, NJ – In what was his first public address since WR Braylon Edwards was slapped with a DWI early Tuesday morning, Jets owner Woody Johnson sounded more like the head of M.A.D.D. than an NFL owner.
“I think we’re just beginning. We’re going to push [implementing an alcohol awareness program] as hard as we can push it. There’s no tolerance for anyone to be drinking and driving. I don’t want anyone drinking and driving. That’s my personal goal.”
Well, maybe not Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but Managers Against Drunk Driving doesn’t have a bad ring to it. With the regularity of this offense in the NFL, I’m sure Johnson wouldn’t have a very hard time getting other front office figures involved.
The owner spoke candidly for about 15 minutes on the topic of the Jets’ troubled wide-out, recalling how he heard about the incident and expressed his feelings on the issue.
“I was extremely disappointed when I found out this had happened. That’s the only way to put it. This is a very serious thing he’s been accused of. I’m sorry this happened to one of our guys,” said Johnson.
“We do have Player Protect. It is encouraged. It’s a great system where a player can call up at any time, and remain anonymous. If I find out a player took this, I’m firing the service. There’s not supposed to be a stigma with this. If you have one drink, you should not be driving. We’re set up to do that.”
Johnson would go on to reiterate his extreme disappointment of the Edwards’ occurrence but expressed pleasure in his team’s reaction to the media backlash. He made sure to note that no one is shying away from questions and, like it has been all season, their locker room is open for everyone to view – good or bad.
When asked about the slap-on-the-wrist punishment of losing his starting job rather than a one-game suspension, Johnson had quite the opposite take than most have taken on the issue.
“Braylon’s losing more than his starting role. He’s got a serious ticket in front of him. If proven guilty, he has a serious taint on his record. He’s going to be a free agent at some point. I would guess that this would negatively affect his new contract. So, I think he’s got a heavy load in front of him.”
He would go on to say that anyone who considers themselves as a starter in the NFL would characterize the punishment as pretty severe. When deciding how to approach Edwards’ punishment, the front office reviewed similar cases that have occurred over the past year. They found that no precedent of suspension had happened until after the legal process had been carried out.
So how long it will be before Jets’ fans will see Edwards on the field? That still has yet to be determined. In all likelihood, the decision will come on Sunday before kick-off.
And as for Johnson heading up the official Managers Against Drunk Driving coalition, he offered a joke.
“I could be the permanent funder for all this stuff. I’m pretty good at setting up these sorts of organizations. So maybe I’m the guy.”
We’ve all heard the old adage before, a lot of truth is said in jest.
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