NY Jets fans show no class by booing Mark Sanchez for camp interception Sanchez
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2013, 10:30 PM Print ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Rex Ryan says fans can boo who they want but Mark Sanchez is surprised he heard it from Jet faithful over a practice interception.
CORTLAND – Somewhere along the way, a segment of the Jets fan base morphed into sad, self-loathing people who, frankly, don’t deserve a Super Bowl team.
The silent majority of long-suffering fans are sensible, fully appreciative that Rex Ryan’s teams have delivered some indelible moments the past few years, and aware that 2013 will be a rebuilding season.
It’s too bad that the obnoxious minority reared its ugly head by voicing displeasure toward one of its own during an intrasquad scrimmage over the weekend. A few thousand Jets “supporters” hid behind their First Amendment rights when booing Mark Sanchez after an interception in practice.
Antonio Cromartie rightfully called it “bull crap”. . .and he wasn’t alone. It was embarrassing behavior that ran contrary to Ryan’s mission to build excitement entering 2013.
“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir,” Sanchez told the Daily News on Monday about the absurdity of booing players in practice. “You heard what Cromartie said. Cromartie was pissed. Cromartie’s like, ‘What are you talking about? You’re going to come here and boo? For what? Then don’t come.’ A lot of guys feel like that.”
Fans have been understandably frustrated with Sanchez’s penchant for turnovers in the past two seasons, but this was a pathetic display.
It was a free scrimmage. In August.
Although Ryan admitted on Monday that fans “can do whatever they want,” he underscored the need to look beyond the team’s recent mistakes with a positive eye toward the future.
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“We want our fans behind us at all times,” Ryan said. “Obviously guys make mistakes. . .We don’t want our guys getting booed, especially from our fans because we all are in green and white, including our fans. This game’s tough enough . . . but we need to support each other.”
Sanchez, who has become an easy target for fickle fans, has always taken the high road in the face of criticism. Not long after his interception prompted boos, he fired a practice-ending 57-yard touchdown to Stephen Hill, which drew a roar from the crowd.
“I throw the interception and people wanted to kick me out of the stadium,” Sanchez said. “I come back and throw the last pass, that’s all you hear when you’re signing autographs: ‘Hell of a pass, man! What a great throw! Great job!’ ”
“It’s not like they’re like, ‘Boo! You threw an interception and you’re a real jerk,’ ” Sanchez added. “It’s not like, ‘Boo! You’re a real a--hole. You’re a bad person. Boo! You speed down the highway, run red lights and punch old ladies.’ No . . . they’re booing because I made a bad play.”
ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Rex Ryan wants Gang Green fans behind the team at all times.
The fans who booed on Saturday don’t deserve Sanchez, who once upon a time won four road playoff games with a three-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio. It may be time to move on if rookie Geno Smith outplays Sanchez in the preseason and earns the starting job, but some Jets fans have turned classless behavior into a science.
They wallow in self-pity, chastising ESPN’s constant airing of the “Butt Fumble,” but invoking it themselves in conversation. They sometimes treat classy people like trash, as if cheering when Chad Pennington suffered an injured ankle in the 2007 season opener will bring them a Lombardi Trophy faster.
Sanchez is a flawed quarterback who helped bring success to this middling franchise. He’s in an open competition with his teammate now. The fans should encourage both guys.
Instead, some poke fun at Sanchez’s head band or make jokes that he jumped the shark. Emboldened Twitter tough guys take their jabs, too.
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They want Smith to start. I get it.
However, the crude behavior only serves to make them the butt of jokes around the league. Apparently, they don’t know any better.
So, they continue to boo one of their own.
“What do you do?” Sanchez said in a quiet moment after practice Monday. “What should I say? I can’t sit there and pout. There’s no point. That’s not going to get me anywhere. The more time I spend worrying about that, maybe I don’t realize why I threw the interception. . . . If I’m getting booed, I’m not going to change anybody’s opinion in the 30 seconds I’m allowed to pout. . . . It’s this spiral. Why even go down that road?”
Sanchez joked that he’s gone through enough professional hardship in the past couple years to last 10 lifetimes. He’s been able to compartmentalize the ill will from fans.
“If it hurts you or bothers you or affects you on the next play, then you shouldn’t play this position,” he said. “You have enough inside of you and enough mental makeup to put yourself out there. If you can’t handle the criticism, then don’t do it.”
Sanchez has always been California cool. He may never become what some Jets fans thought he’d be, but he’s been the picture of class.
In that way, Sanchez will always differ from them.
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