If you haven't heard the latest round of "Antrel Rolle says something silly," we're not going to bother rehashing it here. We just want to take this opportunity to make a few observations about how the New York Giants do, and don't do, business.
If you missed it, Mike Garafolo had the original story, with Rolle's silly comment about football players being treated like soldiers, and an "unprompted" apology moments later. At the bottom there is an update with Rolle's team issued apology (in which he finally seemed to get it fully right).
Mike Florio from Profootballtalk.com had a pretty good take on the situation, as well.
We're not going to hammer Rolle to the wall just for, again, saying something off base. We just want to point out that the guy seems to carry around a sense of entitlement that is mostly unorthodox around the Giants operation.
Starting with the Mara and Tisch families at the top, the Giants strive to be a classy organization. Particularly at that top level, the organization is generally successful with it (PSL's aside). The first–class professionalism trickles down the line from there: Jerry Reese is the pinnacle of class; Tom Coughlin, in his own gruff way, is a pretty class act himself; even team pitbull Pat Hanlon does a pretty good job of not crossing the line.
And despite some notable exceptions –Jeremy Shockey comes to mind– the Giants do a pretty good job of developing young men into pretty classy football players. As G101 pointed out earlier in the week, young guys like Terrell Thomas come across as first rate professionals. Go to Giants.com and watch an interview with, say, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Barry Cofield, Steve Smith or Ahmad Bradshaw, or just about any offensive lineman, among others. Even emotional guys (Brandon Jacobs, for example) and guys who are clearly uncomfortable in dealing with the media (like Mario Manningham), do a pretty good job of implementing the coaching of the Giants media people.
But Rolle's misguided sound bytes point to the fact that he doesn't really get that part of New York Giants football.
Look, we get it. The guy has every right to be proud of himself as a football player. He's got a Pro Bowl selection and a $37 Million contract to back it all up, and you won't find very many complaints about his on–field performance around these parts.
But it seems that Rolle's appreciation for himself as a football player has filled him with a sense of entitlement that borders on disrespect. He pontificates on topics that he shouldn't really be touching, publicly at least, and all but said the fans are lucky to have him.
- The early season scheduling complaints may have very well been valid, but left even some other Giants players scratching their heads at the fact that Rolle's outlet for that frustration was a radio show, not a coach or team leader.
- Saying the fans don't have a right to boo…seriously, dude? You can hate it, you can tell us it makes you furious, we don't expect you to like it. But fans have the inalienable right to boo. Whenever they feel like it. Rolle could use some advice from Osi Umenyiora, who this writer has criticized more than once for what I've perceived as a "me–first" attitude, but who also nailed this issue:
“They have every right to be like that. They’re paying $120 a ticket to come watch us play; you can’t go out there and stink it up like that, especially not in New York. As long as they’re paying to watch us play they can boo, they can do whatever they want to do.’’ NY Post
- The silliness in saying that football players, since they put their bodies on the line, should be treated like soldiers speaks for itself. But even in his initial apology, despite being generally apologetic, he seemed to casually deflect responsibility.
“But some people, I’m sure they’re going to take that and run and say, ‘Oh my God, Antrel is comparing himself to troops in Iraq.’ No I’m not comparing myself to troops in Iraq,” Rolle said. Garafolo
“It’s not Antrel comparing himself. I’m just going to clear that up so you know that. It’s not that at all.” PFT
Actually, Antrel, that is exactly what you did. In the third person, no less!
And it's an eerily similar fauxpology to the one he offered on the whole booing incident in the first place, in which he shed blame for the hysteria on the media. Sometimes blaming the media for stirring up nonsense is fair, but in this case it makes you wonder not if the New York media is too hard, but if maybe the Arizona media was too soft.
Again, we're not trying to demonize this guy, but his whole pattern of spouting off at the mouth rubs us the wrong way for two reasons:
Firstly, much of it happens on radio shows or at press sessions during the week, not in an emotionally charged locker room, making it harder for us to let him slide. Secondly, well, he took a shot at the fans (hey, that's us!). Not only was he wrong, but he was way wrong. Just ask Osi, who realizes that, essentially, our devotion pays your salary.
At the end of the day, Rolle is not guilty of any great crime. We would just hope that from here on out he would be a tad more gracious, and understand that classiness of the New York Giants is a solid part of what makes being a Giants fan different from being an Arizona Cardinals fan, and everyone who takes a paycheck from the team accepts that responsibility.
Reaching the height of one's profession brings entitlement, for sure, but responsibility comes in equal balance. Especially when you wear Big Blue.Ahmad Bradshaw, Antrel Rolle, Arizona Cardinals, Barry Cofield, Brandon Jacobs, Football, Justin Tuck, Mario Manningham, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mike Garafolo, New York, New York Giants, Osi Umenyiora, Steve Smith, Terrell Thomas, Tom Coughlin
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