The Jets object vehemently to being described as a circus.
But if you need more confirmation of the status, the Saints (who just endured a year of bounty scandal and the worst defense of all time) point at them and laugh.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma scolded an anonymous teammate (and the reporter who printed the remarks critical of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) by saying: “We’re not the Jets.”
The whole thing started with a report by Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who quoted an anonymous defensive player ripping Spagnuolo professionally and personally, saying he should be fired. The Saints allowed more yards than any team in NFL history this year, Spagnuolo’s first with the team.
Vilma began on Twitter, saying, “don’t give me ‘anonymous source’ bs” and “say who said it.”
Reached by Holder and asked for his reply, Vilma held back.
“No. I’m bothered you reported it,” Vilma said. “We’re not the Jets who run to the media for everything.”
Asked if the player was wrong, Vilma said: “That’s not the question or the point. If he’s man enough to tell you, he should be man enough to put his name on it. And you should do the same.”
No, Holder should not say his name, not if he ever wants a player to talk to or trust him again, which he does.
Whether the player does is up to him.
As a reporter, the decision on how much leeway to give anonymous sources is a struggle. Generally speaking, the line is drawn between information-gathering and ripping someone without repercussions. It’s easy to find someone to rip a co-worker, harder to decide how much weight that opinion carries and whether it’s newsworthy enough to justify the leap of faith you’re asking a reader to make.
Clearly, there’s some degree of dissatisfaction on the part of the player, who didn’t want to take the blame for record-breaking badness. So the guy did what people do, he deflected. How widespread the opinion is remains to be seen.
It obviously points to an issue the Saints need to address, and when he comes back, head coach Sean Payton will either address it by getting rid of Spagnuolo or a bunch of the players involved.
And if they really want to be the Jets, they don’t even have to worry about calling a press conference to explain it.