The feud between the New York Daily News and Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been one of the more entertaining subplots of the preseason, adding a new layer of absurdity on top of one of the biggest circus acts in sports. Combative press conferences, newspaper front pages, state Governors weighing in, and even the ridiculous notion put forth by NYDN sportswriter Manish Mehta of firing Ryan in the preseason.
Now the feud has taken a bit of an ugly turn with Metha writing a Labor Day column bashing Ryan for having the gall to attend his son's football game on Saturday. Ryan's son Seth plays for Clemson and the Jets coach traveled to South Carolina to watch the Tigers' Top 10 showdown against Georgia. Normal parenting, right? Well, for Mehta, it was an excuse to carry out his and the paper's vendetta even further:
"He shirked his professional responsibilities for personal ones, Dead Coach Walking in Death Valley, furthering the perception that he’s nothing more than a figurehead patrolling the Jets sidelines these days.
It was the exact wrong move at the exact wrong time for a man supposedly fighting for his head coaching life.
Ryan’s decision to skip cut-down day, regarded as the most important 24 hours in pro personnel departments across the league, to watch his son, Seth, a freshman walk-on wide receiver at Clemson, face Georgia in South Carolina revealed how much the head coach has been marginalized."
But Mehta wasn't done there. In fact, he was just getting started. This is less of a hit piece and more of a character assassination of the Jets head coach. Included are various anonymous sources (shocking for a piece about the Jets) confirming Mehta's starting theory that Rex Ryan is a dead man walking as head coach and watching his son play football is a sign of his lack of leadership. But it's not enough to bash Ryan as a football coach, Mehta has to step up his game and question Ryan's priorities by putting his fatherhood ahead of the Jets:
"By all accounts, Ryan has been a great dad, but sometimes the job must take precedence. Ryan, a football lifer, understands the inherent sacrifices of being a coach, which made this decision that much weirder."
If Mehta's endgame in all of this is to make Rex Ryan a sympathetic figure who we're all rooting for, then he's doing a great job of it. When you start taking shots at a guy supporting his kid, that's when you cross a line from "ridiculous media feud" to "being a giant jackwad."
It's not like Rex Ryan attending a Clemson game is an extraordinary step. Reasonable people know fathers seeing their sons play football games is actually quite a normal activity:
Rex Ryan going to son's college game at Clemson? Good for him. He was not only HC who did that on Saturday.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 3, 2013
And yet, since it's become personal between the Daily News and Rex Ryan, anything is fair game for Mehta. It's unfortunate because now this feud reflects poorly on Mehta and the Daily News. It's one thing to be combative, it's another to become completely biased in your coverage without an ounce of professionalism.
So did the kid play? Stats and participation report say no. I'm sure, as a football lifer, Ryan knew the kid was a bench warmer before he made the decision to go.
@tp10021 He's only a freshman. How many freshman actually GET to play?
The kids a bench warmer, Ryan's cut a side deal with the school, in exchange for appearances by Rex, Seth is on the team.
Mehta is an idiot. I won't read any coverage from a media outlet that would hire such a hack, first of all--and I don't--but more than that, that would subject the loyal fans of a team, who pick up the paper to read something interesting about that team and not to be subjected to the hyperactive ravings of a gossip columnist, to the hyperactive ravings of a gossip columnist.
@mcjeff42 They should but this type of press is what generates readers and clicks to their website. Unfortunately it's what they are going for. NYDN might as well be a tabloid if they continue to condone this type of writing.
I think we need Metta World Peace to step in here and bring these two closer together, so they can understand what needs to be done to make the Jets more competitive.
In my eyes, he's always been the guy I look towards to settle any argument.
"It's one thing to be combative, it's another to become completely biased in your coverage without an ounce of professionalism."
This is pretty much the NY sports media as a whole. Mehta is just currently in the spotlight, there are plenty idiots to choose from Stephen A Smith, Frank Isola, David Lennon, Micheal Kay, Ian O'Conner among others but at the top is none other that overweight, overrated radio hack Mike Francesa.
The vendetta between the Daily News and Rex reminds me of the vendetta between this site and ESPN.
@bthompson ESPN and most of the sports MSM deserve 99.89% of the criticism they get thrown at them IMO
Unfortunately there are too many Mehtas in the world of journalism in all areas of reporting. Bias in reporting is everywhere and unfortunately it has become a game of who can scream the loudest. Especially in the desperate world of traditional print journalism.
Also, anyone going after someone's family in any manner is a line that should never be crossed in journalism and is as unprofessional as anyone can get. A father watching a son's game is of no one's concern.
Finally, this isn't 1980. I'm sure Rex took care of his business before he left for the game. If he didn't, I'm sure Rex can afford a smartphone or tablet to accomplish anything and everything he needed to do before the game started, kept up with it during the game and continued to work after the game. He didn't have to be in New York/New Jersey to do his job. I'm surprised a "journalist" like Mehta can't figure that you can do that in this day and age.