One Finger Costs Rex Ryan $50,000

Jets come down hard on their coach

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:43 AM EDT
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One Finger Costs Rex Ryan $50,000

David M. Hildenbrand

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One fat finger equals one fat fine for the New York Jets.

The team fined Rex Ryan $50,000 on Tuesday for telling a crowd at a Miami MMA event that he thought the Jets were the number one team in the NFL. The message wasn't what bothered the team so much as the fact that he used his middle rather than his index finger to get the point across.

It's not too unexpected. The Jets were quick to condemn their coach for reacting to a taunting crowd fired up by Ryan telling them that the Jets would beat the Dolphins twice next season. It seems like a lot of money for a fairly innocuous crime, but people seemed to be upset about it and there's always a public relations angle to consider. Also worth considering is why the people who seemed so upset about it felt the need to plaster such an offensive picture on the front page of their newspaper, but that's a debate for another time.

Ryan shouldn't be too upset with the Jets. There's a pretty good chance that stepping up and punishing Ryan themselves will keep the NFL out of the mix.

Titans owner Bud Adams was slapped with a $250,000 fine earlier this season for giving a double-fingered salute to the Bills and their fans. While the NFL probably wouldn't have fined Ryan that much -- Adams was at a game and captured by television cameras broadcasting his antics nationwide -- they probably would have felt that the boorish but not illegal behavior of a coach on his own time was within their purview since they seem to think everything is within their purview.

At least the Jets have their own business angle to consider, although it's still unclear how many Jets fans from the great states of New York and New Jersey are actually put off by a gesture you'll see fairly often in the parking lot of every Jets home game.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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