The good news is that Jets coach Rex Ryan possibly has come up with a way to get people to quit talking about his middle finger misadventures. The bad news is that the diversion could get him in a lot more trouble than the flipping of a bird.
Per Tim Graham of ESPN.com, Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha wants to be a Jet. And Asomugha says that he has spoken not only to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis regarding the possibility, but also to Ryan himself.
The problem is that Ryan can’t talk to Asomugha about acquiring the shut-down cornerback’s rights. Even if Asomugha intiated the contact, Ryan has an absolute obligation to refrain from speaking to the player, and to immediately report the contact from Asomugha to the league office.
Here’s the relevant language of the Anti-Tampering Policy: “If a club is contacted by a player (or his representative)
who is under contract to or whose negotiating rights are held by another club,
and such player had not been given permission to deal with other clubs, or
such player is not in a permissible negotiating period under the terms of an
operative collective bargaining agreement, then the contacted club is
prohibited from talking or otherwise dealing with the player or his
representative, and the contacted club must immediately report such contact
to the owner or operating head of the club which holds the player’s rights.”
And consider the Berkeley-educated Asomugha’s comment — “Me and Revis have been talking to Rex to try to do something.” The choice of words implies multiple direct communications between Asomugha, who has two years remaining on his deal with the Raiders, and Ryan.
Of course, Asomugha likely would invoke the Lawyer Milloy defense, claiming after letting the cat out of the bag that he was misquoted and/or that he misspoke. But at a time when Ryan is proving that he’s as reckless and unpredictable as a dog driving a Dodge, the league has no choice but to deal with the situation, with or without a tampering claim being made by the Raiders.
Then again, if anyone thinks that the Raiders will be bashful about bashing the Jets over this one, consider the beliefs of owner Al Davis that the Patriots tampered with receiver Randy Moss prior to the trade that sent him to New England.