Jared Max: Jets Owner Can't Be Swayed By 'Fire Idzik' Bullies
By Jared Max
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Picture this: Small planes carrying banners circling the workplaces of each of those involved in the "Fire John Idzik" campaign, stating their personal failures.
"JOE BLOW CHEATED ON HIS WIFE AT THE HOLIDAY PARTY."
Do you remember when Jerry Seinfeld was heckled during his comedy routine by a woman who Kramer was dating?
While Toby grandstanded that it was her right to boo and hiss, she crumbled when Jerry turned the tide on her.
For as much as Jerry's actions were applauded by his fellow TV-show comedians (and his "Seinfeld" audience), it would pale in comparison to the "you-tell-em!" response that would follow Jets general manager John Idzik if he employed a similar method, should he become unemployed because shouting children beat their parent into conversion.
Anybody who has driven a vehicle full of passengers while unsure which direction to travel knows the danger of saying, "We're lost." Not only does reaching Point B remain a challenge, the journey is exasperated by a cacophony of back-seat drivers. Maybe Idzik shouldn't be behind the wheel. But, then, who should? What football genius is available and would want to work in an environment where public humiliation seems welcomed?
While 2014 is rounding out to be the year of the disgruntled, misguided, entitled, snot-nosed, social-media empowered American, I hear significantly more barking at the moon than effective communication.
Spending one's energy in effort to ruin another's existence is far from an honorable act. And, even by their logic, why does the message call for the head of a person who was hired by somebody else? Wouldn't it make more sense to fly a banner over Jets practice that reads, "Woody, Please Sell The Team." Or (for those who prefer wit): "No More Tears, Mr. Johnson. We're All Cried Out."
I shudder at the thought that a man of Woody Johnson's stature would change course based on a small-yet-loud and unignorable swarm of gnats on a 97-degree day, who stretch their vocal chords to identify problems while keeping silent on solutions.
Fire Idzik? Fire yourself.
If the Jets peanut gallery flew banners over each of the Hudson River crossings, pleading for mercy on the working class — preyed on by yet another toll increase -- I would be fine with this form of protest. But this is about football. Leisure. Not real life, other than for those who earns their living through the sport.
If the owner of my favorite team elects to fire his general manager because a group of angry fans spent money to rent billboard space and a small banner-trailing plane to amplify their complaints in the form of public denigration, I would slither away quietly with my tail between my legs.
Sufficiently overstocked with weak leaders, we need the rich-and-mighty to stand for something other than flavor-of-the-day rhetoric. Woody is privy to a club most exclusive. Only 31 other members. Individually and collectively, they possess the power to control the emotions of hundreds of millions of Americans. While the NFL is one of America's richest enterprises, it happens to be our sporting goods stores' most-sought toy. Its margin for error to succeed is minimal. Jets fans have a right to be angry. Woody needs to exercise his right to address them.
If the backbone -- the commander-in-chief -- of my favorite football uniform was so weak to be swayed into great change because of clamoring from the peanut gallery, I would struggle to identify myself as a fan of that team.
I don't care whether Idzik remains the Jets general manager or not; I'm a Vikings fan. However, if Idzik is escorted out by a howling mob, I will be saddened.
Essentially, it is bullying — threatening others through public denigration in attempt to get one's way. But just because one has a legal right to express his opinion does not make him right to use his voice haphazardly. Succeeding in disruption is no badge of honor.
Fresh out of college in 1996, I got a job at a 24-hour sports TV network as a production assistant. When my boss called me into his office to ask my thoughts about the operation, I jumped at the opportunity to share my wealth of complaints. I was detailing my second of third gripe when he stopped me: "Jared, I have a whole newsroom full of critics. What can you offer?"
While I cannot recall my response, I have always remembered his.
Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, "Maxed Out" — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.
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