Dyer: Bart Scott — The Ringmaster of His Own Circus
New York Jets
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By Kristian Dyer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Enough already Bart Scott.
In case you haven’t heard, Jets linebacker Bart Scott threatened a reporter on Friday afternoon after he attempted to take the player’s photograph with the camera on his cell phone. Scott is in the middle of a media boycott where he is refusing to make comments, a move that came about after he took exception to several outlets calling the Jets a “circus.” But pointing his finger in the face of a veteran reporter and threatening physical harm crosses the line, even from the often mouthy linebacker who is known for being as quotable as they come.
It is the latest example of why Scott is a circus at this point in his career and it is his own doing.
This is the last thing the Jets need right now, heading into a crucial road game in Miami. They are 1-1, coming off a game where they were thrown around like rag dolls in Pittsburgh and with two tough games ahead against San Francisco and Houston in the upcoming weeks. The Jets need their focus to be on winning this game and not bickering with journalists.
It is the kind of self-inflicted wound that seems to forever plague this franchise.
The circus tag that Bart Scott hates so much, well, he enhanced it on Friday afternoon. And now he’s the ringmaster.
When he wants to be, Scott is smart enough and savvy to understand how to manipulate and use the media – he’s done it with great effect since arriving in New York in 2009. He has made sound bites a regular occurrence coming out of his locker and his “Can’t wait” tirade from the playoffs two years ago is still the stuff of legends. There wasn’t a boycott then when Scott would gleefully hold court and spout off, unquestioned, on different topics. He loved the attention, he thrived in the controversy his words created but now he doesn’t want it anymore.
Last year Scott again took exception with the media and had a boycott as he said that he was going to “talk with his pads” and refrain from media comments. Instead of playing inspired, Scott had just 66 tackles for his lowest total since 2004. Now, Scott is playing the prima-donna role although this time, most don’t care.
It’s not that Scott isn’t a starter in this league or a solid player, his thankless role of taking on blockers lets the other linebackers makes plays and is one of the most thankless jobs in football. But this routine is getting tiresome, especially for a player clearly on the decline.
Instead what is needed by Scott is to stop picking fights with reporters and instead to go out there and do his job. This is a Jets team that could be very good if everyone shows up and performs and a veteran like Scott has a role to play on this team. He can’t be playing that role if he’s quibbling and threatening over a cell phone photograph.
What is needed from Scott is to take that fire that was on display on Friday afternoon and have it come out on the field and not at someone taking his picture. Maybe if he produces then people will care that he isn’t speaking to the media. Here and now, the once fan favorite is looking pathetic and pitiful, not inspirational and great like two years ago.
He should look to a former Jet like Jerricho Cotchery and see how to hold himself with class. Even when he was forced out of New York last summer due to declining production, Cotchery would never say one negative word about the franchise that cut ties with him, a move that was made despite his outstanding locker room presence.
Scott could use a little bit of that in his own life.
It’s not to bash Scott for getting older but these are the sort of antics that the Jets don’t need right now. Save it for the field next time Scott.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer
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