Rex Ryan issued a statement to the media today apologizing for his obscene gesture at the MMA Strikeforce event in Miami last night:
Ryan: “It was stupid and inappropriate. I wouldnâ€™t accept that type of behavior from one of the coaches or players and itâ€™s unacceptable from me. I apologize to the Jets organization, the National Football League and NFL fans everywhere.”
New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum: “Rex showed extremely poor judgment and his conduct was inappropriate. He knows he was wrong, has apologized and we have accepted his apology. Any other actions regarding this incident will be addressed internally by the organization.”
This afternoon I spoke over the phone to an eyewitness of the events that took place before and during the time of Ryan’s obscene gesture.
I was told that when Ryan first entered the venue with a group of friends, one particular individual, who appeared to be inebriated, unleashed a torrent of profane insults on the coach.
Ryan ignored the comments and proceeded to his cageside seat at the event only to later have the same person confront him with what the witness called “over-the-top” expletive-laced comments. We’re talking multiple f-bombs, m-f bombs and the obligatory comments about Ryan’s weight.
When the man showed no signs of stopping, a brief skirmish ensued between the harasser and arena security. Ryan was not involved in the altercation. Arena security then removed the offending individual from Ryan’s seating area but for some reason did not kick him out of the building, allow the individual to return to his original seat.
When Ryan left the event, he once again passed by the seat location of the heckler and saluted the allegedly intoxicated individual with an obscene gesture as he exited the building.
There’s no excuse for Ryan’s gesture, and his earlier comments on the public address system directed at Dolphins fans didn’t help matters. But if my source is any indication, Ryan actually showed remarkable restraint in the face of an out-of-control, confrontational fan.