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As Gang Green Turns: Total Drama on Revis Island

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My father always said, “You can’t have it both ways.” This usually meant I was being taught a lesson about something. This happens all the time with teenagers. They want money, but they don’t want to work for it. They want a car, but they don’t want to pay for it. They want privileges, but they don’t want the responsibility that comes with them. You get the idea.

Well, the same can be said of the New York Jets and their head coach Rex Ryan these days. Rex likes to come off as the cocky leader of a swaggering bunch of pirates that may be scallywags, but it’s supposed to be okay because they have their eyes on the prize: not a buried treasure but instead the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Anyone who watched the HBO series Hard Knocks knows what I am talking about.

Well Rex can’t have it both ways: he can’t come out and say he’s “embarrassed” for the organization and its owners and all this other stuff when one of his players does something bad, because in fact he encourages the rogue mentality in that clubhouse. He may not see that or understand it, but it’s clear that his players think their coach believes it’s good to be bad.

Ryan might as well go around the clubhouse singing that theme song from the TV show Cops. “Bad boys, bad boys/What you gonna do/What you gonna do/When they come for you?” Sadly, the way things are going, no one is coming and no is doing anything about it either, so it seems like nothing more than a joke, but on whom?

The latest drama in the soap opera As Gang Green Turns has to do with Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated. There seems to be little disciplinary action on the team’s (or NFL’s) part, except to say that Edwards will sit this week’s game out: That’s a bad decision for Edwards; worse for the Jets and their fans. If Edwards is there in uniform, he should play. If he’s not going to play, don’t let him suit up. He shouldn’t be anywhere even close to Miami. Making him sit on his hands and watch the game from the bench teaches him nothing and his fans nothing as well.

I am not suggesting Edwards should go unpunished: he most definitely should be. He will get his day in court and hopefully he’ll feel some kind of pain. It is only fitting because there are too many people in wheelchairs and in graves because of drunk drivers. He can’t just get away with it because no drunk driver should get away with – even if he/she is a first offender like Edwards. It is an affront to the victims of drunk drivers and their suffering families.

The thing is that the NFL does not do what it should do in these cases: fine the transgressors. Hit them in the wallet where it hurts. Whatever Edwards gets paid for one game: fine him and give that money to some organization that helps victims of drunk drivers. Every game he sits he should forfeit his money. Plain and simple. If he goes to jail eventually and misses more games, fine him again and again. Maybe that will teach someone a lesson.

To add to the total drama here, Darrelle (No Man Is an Island) Revis came out and condemned his teammate’s behavior and questioned the way the team is handling the situation. That’s just what we need from Revis, the guy, who because of a contract dispute, held out so long that he missed training camp, got out of condition, and then came back and hurt himself. He should stick to getting himself better and back on the field. Maybe he can talk more when he’s proved something, considering how he let his team and their fans down.

Ryan, who never worries about the size of the shoe sticking out of his mouth, should try to defuse the situation, not bring more attention to the problem. Yes, the whole thing is embarrassing to the organization, but the buck stops – or at least it should – on Ryan’s desk. Like Harry Truman, he better take responsibility for the actions of his players. He should shut the clubhouse door and set his club straight. He had better do it quickly, or this 2010 season is going to unravel quicker than a fishing line stuck in a Great White shark’s jaws.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.