Antonio Cromartie has a little bit of a hard time when it comes to mixing his messages.
He illustrated that on "Hard Knocks" when he talked about his relationships with his kids by letting the world know that he didn't have easy recall of all their names and ages. He did it again on Tuesday by telling Gary Myers of the Daily News that he doesn't "really give a damn about" Tom Brady. One need only look at the back cover of Wednesday's paper to know that Cromartie's not really telling the truth.
To Cromartie, Brady is an "a------" for the way he whoops it up after big plays during games. Cromartie went on to add "f--- him" for good measure before deciding to assure the world that he didn't really care about Brady. Sorry, Antonio, we do believe you doth protest too much.
But that's okay. It's all part of what we were talking about on Tuesday when we decided that the battles between the Patriots and the Jets are now the thing that provides the most fuel for the larger Boston-New York sports rivalry. Cromartie went the expletive route, but Brady's already gone on the record with his hatred for the Jets so it is all cool.
There will be some scolds who wrinkle up their noses about the whole thing, but they are the same wimpering simps who think it is problematic that players shake hands and pray with one another before and after games. You can't have it both ways because true competition means that sometimes you think the other guy is an a-hole and don't feel particularly shy about letting people know.
Other Jets share Cromartie's dislike for Brady, if not his emphatic way of making it known. Shaun Ellis also weighed in with a negative reaction to taunting and Rex Ryan referred to the quarterback's on-field antics during a press conference earlier this week. The easy answer to all of them is to say that they wouldn't have to worry about being taunted if they did a better job of keeping Brady and company out of the end zone.
Plenty of people will go further, though, and say that Cromartie is asking for Brady to light him up the way he lit up loudmouthed Steelers S Anthony Smith a few years ago when he talked trash about Brady before a game. Fair enough, but if that's the case then certainly things can run both ways. Brady getting angry can be countered by Brady making others angry if such things actually matter in the outcome of the game.
Bulletin board material only matters if your team winds up winning, so we'll just have to wait and see which side's grievances wind up amounting to anything other than hot air.