The New York Jets and N.F.L. “Infamy”
New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith will miss as many as 10 games because another Jets player punched him in the face. Think about that for a minute and how stupid that is to happen on a professional football team.
They wouldn’t be the New York Jets if something completely stupid didn’t happen every year. They wouldn’t be the Jets if they didn’t let a promising young quarterback get injured in some freak sideshow-type incident.
Idemefuna Enemkpali is the linebacker who punched Smith and was immediately cut from the team. Not to fear though, ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan picked him up for his Buffalo Bills.
The New York Times ran a story saying that Enemkpali had transformed himself into a “figure of infamy” for the New York Jets. Taking out the starting quarterback with a sucker punch certainly runs you afoul of the team and its fans, but you have to do better in the N.F.L. if you want to achieve infamy.
The idea that Idemefuna Enemkpali could achieve some kind of “infamy” is ludicrous in a league rife with serial sex offenders, wife beaters and celebrated cheaters. Enemkpali may have “sucker punched” Geno Smith, but he punched an adult male and apologized for it. If serial sex offenders like Ben Roethlisberger can have a career in the N.F.L., sucker punchers shouldn’t have any barriers to a life in professional football.
The New York Jets have employed worse people. The Jets starting quarterback for many years was Mark Sanchez, who raped a woman in college.
So unless Enemkpali ripped off Geno Smith’s arm and then knocked him out with his own fist, a simple punch isn’t going to make you infamous. I guess there is a dry spell of crimes from N.F.L. players lately and the media needs to make the most of ones that it gets.
And, this happened to The Jets, which makes the story of misfortune that much better. Ridiculous misfortune business-as-usual for Gang Green. And being a Jets fan hasn’t been easy for four decades.
I’m a Jets fan, and I must admit that the Jets misfortunes are somewhat of a badge of honor at this point. I have stayed loyal to sports teams through thick and thin even when others became fair weather fans and attached themselves to more popular, winning teams at the time. I remember when the New York Yankees had the worst record in baseball in the early 1990s. Living in Connecticut, many of my friends supported the Boston Red Sox and made fun of me for my team loyalty. I vowed to them that I would see the Yankees as world champions again (vowing to be kept on life support until this happened if need be). I only had to wait six years.
And so it is with the Jets. Most New Yorkers are New York Giants fans because the Giants have won more Super Bowls within recent memory. The Jets last won the Super Bowl in 1969, three years before I was born. That’s OK. I’ll wait a little longer.