According to Fox Sports‘ Jay Glazer, who was with Jets coach Rex Ryan when he flipped his middle finger during a mixed martial arts match in Miami last weekend, the $50,000 gesture was actually an act of tremendous restraint.
Upon entering, Mr. Glazer said he and the portly coach encountered one particularly unruly fan.
“I mean it was unbelievable, and he just kept going on and on. Then he said, ‘I hate you. I hope you die, you fat piece of crap,’ and then spit at him,” Mr. Glazer recalled on a radio show this morning, as reported by the Post.
“I got in front of Rex (because) I didn’t want Rex to kill the guy,” Glazer said. “And Rex said, when the guy said, ‘I hope you die, you fat piece of crap,’ that’s when Rex stopped and said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned, and that’s when the spit came.”
It was on their encounter when Mr. Ryan finally fired off his salute to the fan, and it just happened to be captured on a cell phone camera.
“If [general manager] Mike Tannenbaum or [owner] Woody Johnson was there, they would have hit the guy. I think (Rex) deserves a reward for showing restraint. I’d give him 50 grand for not hitting the guy,” Mr. Glazer said.
That’s probably true. But, for Jets fans, Mr. Ryan’s impetuousness might be a cause for some concern. As The Observer noted in October—before the controversies and the crying and the ahem, finger-pointing—the Ryan reputation precedes the Jets coach. His father, Buddy, was one of the great player’s coaches of all time, but couldn’t quite figure out the finer things about management—which would include not, for instance, allegedly putting a bounty on the opposing quarterback or swinging at a fellow coach on the sidelines.