Amari Cooper is one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League. That’s backed up by stats, awards and the eye test of just watching him play. Cooper is also one of the classiest people in the National Football League. He always handles himself with respect in the media, goes about his business, works hard, and has the production that recently netted him a $100M contract from the Dallas Cowboys. His hard work has paid off.
Some people are more impressed with Cooper’s on-field accomplishments than others. We disagree all the time here at BTB, that’s football. That’s sports. That’s life. We can all debate and do so with respect.
This is a lesson that former NFL head coach Rex Ryan clearly does not abide by. During a Friday appearance on Get Up, Ryan was critical of Cooper (again, that’s fair game) but crossed the line by personally attacking him.
(It is unfortunate that we have to share this content, but for the purposes of giving you full context here is the clip)
"[Amari Cooper] is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League. ... I wouldn't have paid this turd."— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 3, 2020
—Rex Ryan pic.twitter.com/A8gzRJqBnD
This is a clear example of hot take sports television, the type of thing that a lot of programming seems to feel like these days. Ryan is trying to create headlines, garner clicks, you get the picture, and if he wants to do so by dismissing Cooper’s on-field abilities then that truly is up to him.
There is absolutely no need for anyone to sling childish names at someone else like Ryan did in this instance. It is crossing a line and is in no way analyzing something objectively which is the purpose of sports talk whether on television or the radio. Numerous people in the media - from different companies and platforms - were taken aback by Ryan’s comments and either called him out for them or noted that he should issue an apology. You can see some examples here, here, here, here, here, and here.
It wasn’t just the media that came to Cooper’s defense. His Cowboys teammate Chidobe Awuzie spoke up on Twitter and noted that Rex Ryan must not know Amari Cooper.
Old man prolly never met Amari yet attacking bro character. Those that kno him kno he a dawg. https://t.co/T4oLMZLvMb— Chidobe Awuzie (@ChidobeAwuzie) April 3, 2020
Rex Ryan is the person that literally said this, but it’s important to note that ESPN thought the moment was sensational enough that they specifically clipped it, tweeted it, and transcribed the exact line that is the issue.
Be better, ESPN.
Update: 1:40pm ET
Rex Ryan said he made a poor choice in saying what he did.
Rex Ryan on ESPN right now: “obviously it was a poor choice by me to say what I said about Amari.”— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) April 3, 2020
Update: 3:00pm ET
Here is Rex Ryan’s clarification.
Rex Ryan joined @SportsCenter to clarify his earlier comments: pic.twitter.com/awB44JnETd— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 3, 2020