Jets coach Rex Ryan won’t talk publicly about a series of YouTube videos featuring his wife, her feet, and in at least one of them the apparent voice of Rex himself.
The party line? It’s a “personal matter.” Rex used that phrase in comments to both the Chicago and New York media on Wednesday. The team’s initial statement included those words, and a statement from G.M. Mike Tannenbaum reiterated the position.
“Woody and I have met with Rex,” Tannenbaum said. “This is a personal matter, and he has our full support.” (Then again, coach Eric Mangini had the full support of Johnson, not long before Mangini didn’t.)
The league has adopted the same strategy, calling it a “personal matter.”
Though no one has officially confirmed or denied that the videos contain images of Ryan’s wife and/or the sounds of Ryan’s voice (which in our view counts as a confirmation), cornerback Darrelle Revis has spilled the beans.
“He basically came in there and said, ‘You guys might know about the situation; some of you guys might not know,’” Revis said, per Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. “‘You’ll find out later on today. Right now, I feel embarrassed, but it’s something personal with me.’”
In other words, it’s them. And though we believe that these matters are indeed personal, the Ryans waived any claim to privacy by uploading the segments to the most public video website in the world.
Moreover, we continue to believe that this isn’t about privacy but about respect and consideration for Ryan’s current and future employers. Ryan had a chance to protect the organization from embarrassment, and he deliberately chose not to do so by making those videos public.
Here’s the real question. Would the Jets have hired him if they knew about the videos?
And then there’s this question. Did the Ravens not hire him in 2008 because they knew about the videos?
Finally, the lesson to be learned by every pro sports team is that a wide net needs to be cast when looking into the background of a potential head coach. Language should be added to each coaching contract seeking a specific disclosure that the coach has not engaged in various, specific categories of potentially embarrassing behavior — with the threat of a for-cause termination that would cut off any future salary obligations if the team later learns that the coach lied.
In this case, our guess is that the issue never came up. Given the significance of the head-coaching position to billion-dollar football teams, it should have come up — and it surely will come up in the future.