The general consensus in the wake of the in-game brouhaha between Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan is that Finnegan instigated it, that he deserved the pummeling he received, and that he should have been suspended.
On NFL G.M. opined to us via text on Monday that Finnegan is a “absolute scumbag.” Finnegan’s agent took exception to that characterization.
“The General Manager that hid in his office and called Cortland an ‘absolute scumbag’ is a coward,” agent Terry Watson said via unsolicited e-mail. “If he wants to share an opinion on a player in the league that is harsh, he can identify who he is or keep his opinion to himself. Additionally, he clearly has no idea what Cortland is about. Cortland simply plays as hard as one can on the field and is a charity fixture in the Nashville community off of it. Have there been times when he has been too aggressive on the field? The League Office thinks so. Are there other players that have been fined more this year for their actions? Yes.
“And if this invisible General Manager would like to own up to his cowardly comment regarding Cortland, at a minimum he can reach out to me or Cortland at my number. Or better yet, he can let you write an article with his name next to this ridiculous comment. I’m sure there are many other General Managers that would love to have Cortland play for them.
Watson also took aim at our criticism of Finnegan. “Perhaps you could get a better understanding of Cortland as a person and player by meeting with him some time instead of writing a quick ‘gotcha’ article,” Watson said. “I know you would find much more there than what many of the poorly researched media have falsely stated about his talent level and character in the last 36 hours.
“Finally, Cortland has been treated like a villain when the wide receiver was the one that acted outside the boundaries of a football game by punching Cortland with his helmet off. No apology through the media after the game can change that. As well, I also find it interesting that no one identified the wide receiver as a likely antagonist from the play before when Cortland is pushed in the back after the play is over and then the receiver is seen on tape yelling obscenities among other things at Cortland.
“Cortland has won his share of battles and then some against the top receivers in this league. The 1 yard TD catch Andre caught was the first TD he’s had against Cortland in 9 games between them. I would urge the media to actually watch the game instead of grabbing the stat sheet after it. Andre’s big game was against the other corner for the Titans last year. In the second game last year at Houston, Andre was held to less than 55 yards receiving. In the game Sunday, Andre averaged less than six yards per catch. If that is ‘getting worked’ as Trent Dilfer has falsely claimed repeatedly the last 36 hours, I think a new definition of the phrase is in order.”
We decided to let Watson speak his mind, and maybe I’ll take him up on his offer to meet with Finnegan at some point. Still, the fact remains that Finnegan has said he wants to be known as the dirtiest player in the league
. Once those words come out of his mouth, it becomes very difficult to secure the benefit of the doubt.