While understandably venting about contract disputes between millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, fans can be forgiven for basing their opinions from a perspective of rigid practicality. But it is a fundamental mistake.
Ego clashes have occurred in the realm of human affairs since the origins of man, many over petty issues easily resolved with the simplest of conversations. Often, a sound middle ground between two parties is never found. Throw millions of dollars into the mix, and one should be sure to cast aside any expectation of sensibility to enter into the proceedings.
Oh, sure, grievances are occasionally resolved magnanimously, even in the National Football League, a land where one false move can end a career, and the contracts are not guaranteed, aside from the precious allotment of bonus money. But considering these whacked-out circumstances, it’s not the slightest bit surprising when negotiations collapse.
Now, here’s where Darrelle Revis is barraged by a wave of rationality from an infuriated fan-base, because it’s easy to be pragmatic when observing a situation from a detached perch. And no matter how entertaining, inspiring, and uplifting the symbiotic fan to athlete relationship may be, it is an inarguably impersonal one. So here come the pleas: Come on Revis, don’t throw away a potentially special season on financial trench warfare! Come on Revis, you held out for this very same rookie contract, how could there be a legitimate act two without something drastic, and regrettable, taking place, like a season-long stalemate, or a trade! [Which, a few months ago, would have shocked everyone. The fact that it would not, at this point, shows how ugly the squabbling has gotten] Come on Revis, how could you do this to your teammates! [But they understand, the fans are counting themselves as teammates here]
But sorry folks, we are hardly dealing with a cut and dry scenario, here. If you ever saw a co-worker fired because he blew out his knee during the exhibition workday that didn’t even count toward the yearly pie chart breakup, then you could properly assess this situation. Nor can the writer really understand. Has a well-compensated scribe ever broke his finger on the keyboard and lost the next four years on his contract, without so much a grievance, because his boss was really worried about proper comma placement post-surgery? [Well hopefully that’s never happened, anyway. Otherwise, writers… assemble!]
Information can be received, discussed, public relations machinations analyzed. But getting legitimately infuriated over the crazy gamesmanship between athletes, owners, and agents is an unhealthy trip, and one likely to constantly repeat. However this whole issue is finally resolved, it probably won’t make sense, anyway. Sports never did, and yet some of us still ask. Revis has his right as an individual to make choices, and so does Jets management. Woody Johnson has to worry about countless different outcomes to any business decision, in terms of precedent setting and future deals. All the rest is noise, interesting noise, reportable noise, but noise all the same, until a resolution.
New Jets Receiver Santonio Holmes shared a few thoughts on fellow newcomer Kyle Wilson, the rookie corner who is now an invaluable member of the secondary, as Revis-gate lurches onward with no sign of stopping. “He’s got a lot to learn,” said Holmes of Wilson, “He’s been asking a lot of questions. He’s been willing to learn. He’s always in his coach’s ear asking for advice. He’s always talking to me. I’m always pulling him to the side. I just found out we have the same agent. That makes it a little easier for us to communicate amongst each other even though we’re playing on opposite sides of the ball.” Holmes is now a well-established pro, a venerable Super Bowl hero, but he remembers the travails of being a rookie. “You have to feel confident. Confidence comes in practice. Every time he comes up to me, I’m always giving him advice on what he’s doing wrong. If he’s doing something right, I tell him ‘Good job’, I think it’s building his confidence going against number one receivers like myself, Braylon [Edwards] and Jerricho Cotchery.”
Head Coach Rex Ryan lent his opinion on today’s training camp happenings, blunt quotes regarding the Darrelle Revis contingent sure to capture headlines. But he began with a quick assertion of the morning practice. “The defense dominated the practice today,” said Ryan. “It was a good practice, a good physical practice.”
Center Nick Mangold took a nasty shot to the head when Sione Pouha jumped a snap count during individual drills. “He literally… got hit in the temple. He was a little dinged,” said Ryan, who didn’t appear remotely troubled about the injury, even cracking that Pouha may have found a new strategy for handling Mangold in practice.
In a rebuttal sure to lead in most papers tomorrow, Ryan publically expressed his displeasure over allegations levied against Jets upper management by Darrelle Revis’ rep Neil Schwartz. Schwartz claimed that the Jets blatantly lied about team owner Woody Johnson offering to personally join the discussion fray last Friday. Johnson countered that the offer was legitimate, but rebuffed. Ryan had an offer of his own. “That’s a blatant joke to me,” said an incredulous Ryan. “This is what I would like to have happen. Everyone put their cards on the table. Have Darrelle come here, with anyone he wanted. And we’ll have Mr. Johnson here. In fact, this is what I think we oughta do… we’ll call off practice. We’ll have our whole team there, and meet… Let’s do this. I’m inviting them to come in.”* Ryan tapped the podium as he spoke, seemingly growing more frustrated with every syllable.
The battle for number two quarterback never existed. Mark Brunell is the backup, leaving Kellen Clemens in limbo, without a clear role on the team. “We bought him in to be our number two quarterback,” said Ryan of Brunell, “That was pretty much pre-determined.”
*Remember, this all makes sense!
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