By Ann Liguori
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You can‘t make this stuff up. The New York Jets, so compelling this year on the field as they are on the verge of making the playoffs, are even more fascinating off the field. And the latest, the foot fetish scandal, allegedly involving Rex Ryan and his wife Michelle, takes the cake. What a send-off into the New Year for reporters who like to write about such things. And the fact that coach Ryan did not deny a Deadspin.com report that shows videos of a woman who looks like his wife showing off her feet while a cameraman, who sounds like Ryan who is talking to the women, adds fuel to the fodder! The mere fact that Ryan told reporters on Wednesday that ‘it’s a personal matter’ and that he is not going to get into it, created twice as much interest!
This foot fetish frenzy is so over the top strange that the conspiracy theorists have to ask, what are the Jets trying to hide? Do they actually invent these distractions to keep the media busy so as not to dwell on other news like Mark Sanchez’s slight cartilage tear in his throwing shoulder? Or Santonio Holmes’ turf toe? Or is there more going on with the Brett Favre sex text scandal that hasn’t been released? How about Sal Alosi? Maybe it is actually Sal Alosi who is attracted to Michelle’s feet? Shall I go on? Maybe the alleged foot fetish scandal is a cover up for Sal Alosi and the ‘human wall’ investigation. Maybe the woman in that video wasn’t even Michelle Ryan but the female reporter from TV Azteca!
Yes—I know I am being absurd, as absurd as this entire distraction of a story.
What should be receiving much more attention is a story that I don’t think got half the attention they deserved and that is the UConn women’s basketball team. Sure, the NFL normally dominates the sports headlines this time of year but the women Huskies winning an NCAA record 89th straight game this past Tuesday should have been front and center before, during and after the team broke the record held by the UCLA men’s team from 1971-1974. Yes, the UConn women’s basketball team received attention but not as much as they should have and certainly not as much attention had a men’s college basketball team surpassed this record. And the way the women’s UConn basketball team achieved this – dominating as they did, with an average 33.3 points margin of victory! The entire story is incredible!
President Obama recognized the accomplishment with a phone call to coach Geno Auriemma during their post game press conference on Tuesday. And it’s wonderful to hear that coach John Wooden’s grandson Greg said his grandfather said he “thought the best basketball was played at the collegiate level and it wasn’t by the men.” John Wooden was as wise of a man as they come.
As reporters, we are sometimes guilty of focusing on the more bizarre, sensationalistic stories. Let’s put aside the alleged Rex and Michelle Ryan foot fetish nonsense and give other stories, like the UConn women’s basketball team their due!
Be sure to visit www.annliguori.com and purchase her interviews on DVD with some of the top names in sports and entertainment and a copy of her book, A Passion for Golf, Celebrity Musings About the Game.”