Monday, November 21, 2011
Rex Ryan fined $75K for yelling at fan
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan has to pay up for telling a fan to shut up.
The New York Jets' outspoken coach was hit with a $75,000 fine Monday by the NFL for cursing eight days ago at MetLife Stadium, the league announced. It's one of the largest fines in recent history for a head coach. That he was a repeat offender, no doubt, factored into the amount.
Ryan received an official notice from Commissioner Roger Goodell in the morning.
"The commissioner has a tough enough job," Ryan said. "I'm an NFL lifer and I know I represent the NFL and represent the Jets, so I'm accountable for my actions and I will not appeal it."
Ryan spoke to Goodell a few days ago to discuss the matter, and to apologize to him.
"Quite honestly, the man's made a decision, and if his decision is that I should be fined $75,000, then that's the way it is," Ryan said, when asked if the punishment was excessive. "I just want to get it behind me."
Ryan won't be disciplined by the team, which said from the outset that it was a league matter.
The incident occurred at halftime of the Jets' 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots. As the Jets walked off the field and into the locker room, a fan yelled at Ryan: "Rex, (Bill) Belichick is better than you."
Ryan, already angry because the Jets had allowed a touchdown in the final seconds of the half, fired back, "Shut the f--- up!"
The brief exchange was caught on camera, and the video made the rounds on the Internet. The fan isn't seen in the video.
Ryan apologized the next day, admitting he lost his cool. Curiously, the league took an unusually long time before rendering its decision. Most fines are handed down the next week.
"I was emotional, it was an emotional time," Ryan said. "I obviously made a mistake. I was full of emotion and just popped off. Obviously, I know I represent the National Football League, I know I represent the Jets, and I know it was a mistake. I apologize for it.
"This is who I am ... I'm about as big a competitor as there is and, at that time, I was in no mood to hear anything, but I also understand I have to handle that better."
This wasn't Ryan's first hefty fine. In February 2010, during Super Bowl week in Miami, he was docked $50,000 by the Jets for making an obscene gesture at a fan at a mixed martial arts event.
That, too, broke on the Internet, via a cell-phone camera.
"I know that to coach in the National Football League is an honor," he said. "I don't want to be the guy to put a black eye on this or whatever. I just want to get it behind me and move forward."
The Jets are no stranger to hefty fines from the league. A year ago, they were hit with a $100,000 penalty in the aftermath of the Sal Alosi sideline tripping incident.
In 2009, they were fined $125,000 for not reporting an injury to Brett Favre late in the 2008 season. The total included $25,000 apiece for general manager Mike Tannenbaum and then-coach Eric Mangini.
The largest league fine for a head coach is believed to be $500,000, given to Patriots coach Bill Belichick for his role in the illegal videotaping scandal of 2007 -- aka SpyGate.
In 2005, then-Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice was fined $100,000 for scalping Super Bowl tickets. In 2010, then-Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels was fined $50,000 when his team got caught videotaping an opponents' walk-through.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.