Bill Plaschke: Rex Ryan should be punished for recent comments
Can somebody please penalize Rex Ryan for illegal procedure of his mouth?
Ryan, the giant coach of the New York Jets who talks like he eats -- in huge quantities, sometimes making a huge mess -- has crossed the line from dumb to dangerous.
On Wednesday afternoon, talking about the Dallas Cowboy fans who are expected to show up at MetLife Stadium on Sunday for the season opener, Ryan said, "I don’t know why they’d be here. They’re coming into our stadium. It’s probably not recommended that you wear Cowboys stuff, I would think."
The published account of his quote notes that he, "joked," but this is about as funny as a brain injury.
Amid the current climate of fan violence, Ryan essentially just put out a hit on Cowboy fans.
In warning Cowboy fans to stay away, he’s inciting Jets fans to punish them for showing up, and you have to wonder how Rex Ryan has been able to coach his team while living on another planet.
Did he not see the recent chaos in San Francisco, where fights between fans of the 49ers and Oakland Raiders resulted in 70 ejections, 12 arrests, two parking-lot shootings and one restroom beating that left a man unconscious?
Was he not aware of the violence outside Dodger Stadium last spring, where two Dodger fan beat Bryan Stow into a coma simply because Stow was wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey?
With the economy tanking and unemployment peaking, fans are increasingly coming to games to blow off the steam. Dressed in their team’s jersey, they can scream with the players, celebrate with the players and essentially spend three hours pretending to be a player.
This includes their desire to compete with the opposition like a player. Only, sadly, the opposition is some poor fan in a visiting jersey and the competition is conducted with physical violence.
In the grainy, black-and-white world of George Halas and Vince Lombardi, football coaches could truly joke about visiting fans while attempting to fire up their home fans, and Ryan has always been a grainy, black-and-white sort of coach.
But the sports world has changed, it’s now colorful and caustic, and Ryan should have known better than to urge Jets fans to defend their turf against fans who just happen to cheer for the other team.
Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, needs to immediately fine Ryan for these comments and issue an edict warning NFL coaches against issuing similar statements.
Seriously, Ryan said he doesn’t know why Cowboy fans would be at Sunday’s game? I don’t know, maybe to watch the game?
-- Bill Plaschke
Photo: Rex Ryan. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images