Bills Like IKE: 2nd Chance or Free Pass?

17 Aug

It’s been the talk of town, New York town, that is, for good part of this past week. And it’s likely to have some traction running well into the NFL 2015 season.

News broke Tuesday (8.11) that New York Jets starting quarterback, 3rd-year man Geno Smith, suffered a broken jaw at the hand of 2nd-year, small defensive-end (6” 1’ / 261), IK Enemkpali who‘d appeared in but 6 contests in 2014, making a mere 2 tackles (1a).

“Sucker-punch” was the phrase of the day.

......Bills.wordmark.M.Epsilon.sportslogo

The rumor-mill was working fast & furious in the hours and days following, offering much speculation but little or nothing in the form of substance. The consensus was that a believed debt owed in the form of a $600 airline ticket was the assailant’s motivation with no small amount of bad judgment at the root cause.

The non-refundable ticket has probably been source of more arguments and animosity in America than vacation destination debate and infidelity, combined.

Equally blind-sided was 1st-year NYJ head coach Todd Bowles who handled his press conference like a seasoned pro but, as expected, offered little insight into the fracas except that IKE had been summarily dismissed (waived) from the Jets and that changing a team’s “culture (reporter queries are getting Dumb and Dumber by the day)” doesn’t happen “overnight.”

But no sooner had IKE been set adrift in an NFL sea awash in wannabes, than the free-swinger from Pflugerville, Texas was thrown a line and hauled in by the Buffalo Bills who claimed him off those waivers. Enemkpali will be reuniting with Bills 1st-year head coach Rex Ryan who drafted IKE when he headed-up the Jets draft selection in ’14.

It’s the type of act that defines Rex Ryan’s persona, i.e., player’s coach.

....Ryan.10.23.11.wc.M.O'Leary.thmb

Less confrontational someone like former Raiders owner-coach, Al Davis (d.2011), and less enigmatic than Belichick, RR’s more akin to Seahawks’ Pete Carroll. But all like-minded in providing port of sanctuary for the occasional misfit & malcontent, though, Rex has “miles to go“ before he matches Al’s record of safe-harbor (See; R.Incognito (BUF)).

Who doesn’t like 2nd-chances, who’s not a hater or hypocrite?

It’s a dice roll but often affords good press, might fuel some locker-room mojo and pay big dividends (See; Raiders SB11, 15 & 18; M.Lynch (SEA)).

The problem with Buffalo’s move is apparent failure of Bills’ brass (GM Whaley) to set a condition precedent to claiming IKE, i.e., first, require he man-up by attempting a sincere, face-to-face w/Smith whose rep will always suffer from this emasculation, hopefully including reciprocating apologies from both parties.

Talk, or lawyer-vetted public apologizes, can be cheap, just as PCP-mandated counseling can fall on deaf ears. A face-to-face would’ve been a gesture benefiting all interested parties and the NFL, i.e., ‘mistakes happen, we make it right.’

An opportunity lost.

Jets Jab speaks to the immense power of imagery in 2015.

Even with the non-sport brutality that is MMA being forced on the masses by marketers, and using ladies, too, no less (equal opportunity viciousness), the power of the video-displayed punch on public passions is all too evident in wake of the Rice-Palmer elevator incident and to a lesser media-degree, the LeGarrette Blount jab at Byron Hout a few back (NCAA).

.....Blount.wc.1.19.14.J.Beall.tm

Oregon Duck Blount, who’d just seen his Heisman and team’s national title hopes take a nose dive in ‘09 loss to Boise State, received a punitive pounding for what amounted to a reflexive message-punch to a taunting, in-your-face Hout. A long suspension and serious drop in NFL draft (‘10) was the result for the star RB.

You’ll not see state criminal codes change but the Blount-Hout dust-up raised a valid question of whether physical force (SD) should be sanctioned in certain circumstance absent meeting of traditional standard, the reasonable belief in (serious) bodily harm. If a punch recipient’s words, manner & timing incite a reasonable but irresistible impulse towards physicality (See also; Zidane), as adjudicator I’d be open to finding it justifiable.

But that’s all theory.

What is real is LeGarrette’s resilient rebound in the pro-ranks, a success story (SB49 ring) that warrants a cover shot (Sports Illustrated). His own punch-line speaks to the power of video, even as it’s sometimes overstated and oversold (See; Disney (ESPN)).

To the Bills, whose newest rosteree in IKE was luckily spared the same degree of national outrage that often accompanies wide, public dissemination of audio (Sterling) and video-captured moments of indiscretion, seeking success (Ws & $) and fomenting feel-good by affording a 2nd-chance is, on the surface, a-okay.

But if it comes by enabling quasi-criminal acts and jellyfish mentality (fear of taking responsibility) it’s just more over-identification from the likeable coach (who hadn’t even spoken with IKE pre-claim) and maybe an excuse for a troubled player to simply carry his overt-anger elsewhere, off-field, to another unsuspecting victim. Maybe.

.......NFL.wikiproject.6kb

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: G.Smith, 8.11.13, Eltiempo10, wc; Buffalo, wordmark, wc, M.Epsilon; R.Ryan, 10.23.11, wc, M.O’Leary; L.Blount, 1.19.14, J.Beall, wc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 8.17.15 @ 12:11am; Copyright ® 2015

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