Tom Coughlin unhappy with incident
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin addressed the New York Giants on Monday morning about the Internet video that went viral of Jason Pierre-Paul dunking Prince Amukamara into a tub of ice recently in training camp.
Upset with the inappropriate language and behavior, Coughlin told his players to cease any further actions such as dumping rookies and young players into cold tubs.
"We can't have that anymore," Coughlin told reporters on Monday night. "I did see the tape. It is inappropriate on a couple of levels. First, the language was inappropriate, no doubt about that. Anytime you have a player that could be injured, that is not a good move and I would be concerned about that as well."
Amukamara, Pierre-Paul and Steve Weatherford, who tweeted the video this past weekend, all met with reporters on Monday and regretted how the video was interpreted by some outside the locker room as bullying or hazing.
We can't have that anymore. I did see the tape. It is inappropriate on a couple of levels. First, the language ... Anytime you have a player that could be injured, that is not a good move and I would be concerned about that as well.” -- Tom Coughlin
Several Giants said the incident was typical horseplay that takes place inside a football locker room and how young players often pay their dues. Earlier last week before the video was tweeted, Corey Webster tweeted a picture of rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle bound by tape in a cold tub as well. Amukamara said other young teammates were landing in ice tubs as well.
"Sorry @RuebenRandle!! @LSU Love," Webster tweeted about fellow LSU product Randle with the picture.
Coughlin said any form of discipline handed out by him would remain within the team.
"Training camp is full of a lot of fun and a lot of pranks, and that is where you build a lot of team chemistry," Amukamara said. "And that is how we get along as a team, and it kind of got out of hand. There was just a lot of roughhousing and a lot of rough play."
The video, which contains harsh language, shows several Giants players following Pierre-Paul as he carries Amukamara on his shoulder to the ice tub area in their practice facility recently at training camp at the University of Albany. Pierre-Paul then tosses Amukamara headfirst into the rubber tub.
Amukamara, who was the subject of pranks last season as the team's first-round draft pick, does not resist or put up a struggle while on Pierre-Paul's shoulder.
He does emerge from the freezing water looking upset. Pierre-Paul then curses and high fives a teammate as he makes it sound as though he was putting Amukamara in his place with the hijinks.
When asked to clarify what got out of hand, Amukamara explained that his teammates were rowdy before the video being shot in the locker room, and that led to Amukamara being dunked into the icy water.
"That is just how we get along as a team," Amukamara said of the horseplay. "We consider ourselves a family and brothers, and I guess that is how we show our love for each other: We mess around like that."
"I have very [thick] skin," added the cornerback, who grew up with five sisters. "I can take a lot. I have never had a brother, so just having older brothers like this, I just know it is not personal. If it was personal or felt threatened, I definitely would have addressed it way earlier, so I know it is not."
Amukamara said no apology was needed from Pierre-Paul. The 6-foot-5, 278-pound Pierre-Paul understands how he could have injured the 6-foot, 207-pound Amukamara. But his intention was never to hurt anyone.
Coughlin said he made no changes to his social media policy but did preach to his players about the virtues of their behavior on social media.
"He explained the situation, what is going on and he told us not to do anything like that where we can harm our team," Pierre-Paul said. "We understand the concepts that Tom Coughlin was telling us."
"It was nothing to harm Prince," Pierre-Paul added. "Me and Prince are family. All these guys in the locker room are family. I would never try to hurt one of my teammates."
In addition to being upset about the incident, Coughlin said Weatherford should have never tweeted the video for the public to see "because there is trust in the locker room and people have to be able to rely on each other."
Weatherford apologized to fans and said it was really meant to show the Giants having fun. However, besides the offensive language toward the end of the video, some have criticized the incident as an act of hazing or bullying.
"Everybody in this locker room loves each other," Weatherford said. "We all get along great. It's simply horsing around. It wasn't perceived that way, and I apologize for that.
"It was a mistake on my part. What happens in here stays in here, and I think everybody in here gets along great, and it was just perceived wrongly, and that's my fault, and I apologize for that."
Tuck agreed that the language was inappropriate and understood how the ice tub incident could be perceived as bullying.
We consider ourselves a family and brothers and I guess that is how we show our love for each other, we mess around like that.” -- Prince Amukamara
"We have all been through it," Tuck said. "It is kind of like a tradition, kind of like a rite of passage. When I was a rookie I got dumped into a cold tub, had to pick up breakfast, whatever it may be. You accept it. For me it was looked upon as, well, I am going to do my part to become one with you guys."
The veteran speaks out against bullying and he did not condone or defend the incident. But he also tried to explain the culture of the NFL locker room and how an act like dunking a player into an ice tub can be viewed as a young player paying his dues.
"No one really understands the culture in this locker room and locker rooms around the country unless you've been in one," Tuck said. "I definitely can see how people outside of this locker room can take it in a negative light and for good reason. I definitely see both sides of it. ... We're going to do our part to make sure that nothing like this happens again."
Veterans have wanted to see Amukamara, last year's first-round pick, develop more confidence and edge.
"We don't dunk guys that we don't think are going to be a part of our team, are going to help our football team," Tuck explained. "It's kind of a good thing if you get dunked. I know that doesn't sound right, but Prince is one of those guys that everybody around this room loves. We find him to be one of the most amusing guys. So he kind of in some ways enjoys the fact that we give him a hard time and is liked.
"But we're still very sensitive to the fact of the bullying nature, the epidemic that's around this world and how people can perceive [it] in the wrong light," Tuck added.
Amukamara has talked in the past about how he had kind of rebelled against the normal pranks a rookie would be subjected to last season. When asked why he still was the target of hijinks now that he is no longer a rookie, the cornerback explained that veterans still view players as rookies through the first three games of their second season.
"When you're family, you horseplay around," Rolle said. "There's no difference than between brothers and sisters and what happens in the household.
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"We wouldn't do it if [Amukamara] didn't feel that way. It was all fun and games. I've been thrown in the cold tub before. I don't look at anyone with harsh feelings or take anything personal. I can definitely see the way it may look to the outside world. So we just have to be more careful about the things that are done around here."
Amukamara and Pierre-Paul spoke about the incident on Sunday and again on Monday morning. The cornerback also approached Coughlin on Sunday and told the head coach that he had no issues with any players on the team.
Coughlin said he plans to sit down with Pierre-Paul soon to hear his side.
"Our relationship is still the same, and this event happened like two or three weeks ago," Amukamara said. "I am not upset at anybody. It looks like it is bullying and it looks like it is foul play and just the language, which is why I can see why it is taken out of context."
The Giants reiterated that the chemistry in the locker room is rock solid and the whole situation was being overblown.
"It's funny, you don't see this part in the video where after he gets out and dries off he's back playing around with the same guys that just threw him in the cold tub," Tuck said. "If you haven't been a part of a culture like this in this locker room, it's kind of weird.
"I don't expect everybody to understand it," he added. "You think about a bunch of guys going out and having fun, and I think the reason why the vets do it is we got it done to us. It's something that's been a part of the NFL culture for a long time."
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