Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Titans Fans Continue Their Sad Support Of The Bully Cortland Finnegan

Nashville, I have a very important question for you: Why the hell do we put up with this shit?! Why do we tolerate—even praise—Cortland Finnegan’s thug behavior? Hell, we gave him a weekly call-in radio show for Pete’s sake!

When Cortland made the Pro Bowl, you all cheered. And I was there in the back, quietly pointing out that he’s a hot-head who plays dirty. When the Broncos called him out earlier this season (along with the rest of the Titans roster) for being dirty, you defended him as one of your own. But there I was behind you again, sheepishly suggesting that the evidence shows the Broncos were clearly right.

And when he orchestrated and instigated a fight with Andre Johnson on Sunday, and then smiled and taunted the Houston crowd on his way out of the stadium, I said to myself, “Finally, the city of Nashville is going to see this bully for what he is.”

But I was wrong. Because many of you are still defending his cheap-shot ass. Many of you called his radio show yesterday to praise him for his toughness. And Jeff Fisher petitioned the league to not suspend Finnegan on the grounds that he never threw a punch.

Let’s get one thing straight here, geniuses: Finnegan threw a punch. He just didn’t have closed fists. Watch the video… watch him slam Johnson in the face right at the start of the play. Here it is:

Now… I know defensive backs shove receivers at the line all the time. I’m not an idiot. But that’s a more-than-typical violent shove there… directly to the facemask with two hands. Saying he didn’t throw a punch is a weak-ass technicality. There are even reports he turned to the Texans sideline just before the play and said, “Watch this.”

Finnegan is a teenager. He is petulant… he is violent… he is angry. It’s trendy for Titans fans to use semantics to excuse away the bad behavior. “He’s just chippy.” Or, “He just plays with emotion.” Or my favorite: “He’s an instigator.” Bullshit. He has openly admitted he wants to be known as the dirtiest player in the league. And you idiots are lapping it up.

He’s a thug. He takes cheap shots after the whistle constantly. He’s been flagged and fined for unsportsmanlike behavior numerous times in his short career—at least $40,000 in fines this year alone. One GM in the league called him an “absolute scumbag. All for 13 interceptions and 5 sacks in five years. That’s… average. It might be easier to accept his misbehavior if he was producing like a super star, but he’s not. Plenty of cornerbacks can amass 13 interceptions in five years--hell, his own teammate Michael Griffin has 15 interceptions in four years, with nowhere near the penalty yardage, fines, and negative press that Finnegan brings.

And now he’s suggesting his fighting partner’s punishment should have been stronger. Give me a break. Compare and contrast with Andre Johnson’s remarks about the fight:

“I want to apologize to the organization, our owner and my teammates. What happened out there today wasn’t me. I just lost my cool. I wish I could take back what happened. I can’t. It’s over and done with now. I’m pretty sure I’ll be disciplined. I’ll have to deal with it.”

Now that’s a man who’s not making excuses. That’s a man who knows he went too far. Finnegan? He probably wishes he went further than he did. Don’t forget that when Denver’s Kyle Orton said Finnegan was dirty, Finnegan’s response was to challenge him to a fight.

Andre Johnson also called the commissioner of the league to apologize personally, and says he will not appeal the fine because he knows he did something wrong. Finnegan? He’s appealing the fine.

The most annoying thing is that Finnegan did all this on Sunday when his team was getting shut out 20-0, late in the game. He melted down like a whiny baby and lashed out physically against an opponent he couldn’t beat any other way. Freaking child.

Nashville, I wondered if the city was losing perspective when so many of you defended Albert’s head stomp several years ago. Or when you stood and cheered the uber-thug PacMan Jones’ great kick returns in spite of his many arrests. I worried about your sanity when you continued to side with Vince Young despite his continued attempts to prove how selfish and childish he is.

But now… now, I’ve just given up. If you see the “look at me” dance that Finnegan performed on Sunday, taunting and mocking a crowd whose team had truly destroyed the Titans, and you think that’s a guy we should get behind… well, then I don’t think I want to know you anymore. I think you can take your Titans and your bitch-ass quitting QB and your street-gang-mentality cornerback with Tiny-Man’s Syndrome… and you can sail off together to the Sea of Never Making the Playoffs. Have a nice trip. You all deserve each other.

Honestly… I thought we were better than this. I thought there was a decency and politeness engrained in our culture in Nashville that would make it impossible for an attitude problem like Finnegan to stick around on the roster—let alone be a hero. But I was wrong. I’ll take my ball and go home now, I guess.

Look at the last five years, people. Vince’s meltdowns and tantrums. Albert’s stomp. Pacman’s multitude of legal issues. Owner Bud Adams flips a double bird to the entire Buffalo fan base and organization. Vince’s fight in the strip club this off-season. Pick up Randy Moss, one of the most notorious bad-attitude players in the league. And now Finnegan’s continued antics of thuggery and violence.

Don’t look now, Nashville, but you’re the new Oakland. You’re the new Cincinatti. You’re the new punch line in the NFL when it comes to bad behavior and character issues.

And what’s worse? I’m starting to think you like it that way.

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At 11/30/2010 11:53:00 AM, Blogger DJ Drummond said...

Well said, sir. I would add just one more thought. I used to officiate high school football, and officials compare notes about teams and players as part of their preparation for games. You know ahead of time who to watch for cheap shots and late hits. That 'bad ass' rep may sell tickets and merchandise, but it also gets you close to trouble before you play a down. Think about why the league didn't suspend Johnson. His good-guy rep was part of it, and Finnegan's long history of breaking the rules was part of it.

Thanks for the post, again.

At 11/30/2010 08:58:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Agree with every word, sir. And as an Oakland Raiders fan who doesn't enjoy this kind of behavior, it's almost nice to see another team capturing the lime light. And considering the Raiders haven't done shit like this for years, I'm a little confused as to why they are always the whipping boys. Well, I guess they did have Romanowski a few years ago, but semantics.

It was weird after the Broncos made those comments because I guess I wasn't paying as much attention to the Titans as I had in the past. I thought the Titans? Really? And then I see Finnegan's actions this past weekend and all of the points you bring up are dead on.

And Finnegan's comments in the aftermath are ridiculous. His point of they would have suspended me if I had been the one hitting Johnson while he was on the ground was right because he's been warned many many times to cut this crap out. So of course you will get a bigger punishment than the guy who hasn't done anything. They do give warnings initially. Does he even know anything about the rules of football? Well, I guess not, or he just doesn't care. Either way, he should be gone. As you said, it's not like he's one of the best defensive players in the league; he's not even close to being the best on the team. Ridiculous.

At 12/01/2010 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

It's funny that this is the first post here since my "Titans are 5-2, so why am I not excited" post, because they've lost 4 in a row since then and have proven to be a bunch of weaklings emotionally.

In general, I agree with most of this post.

I have no defense of Cortland Finnegan, but I'm assuming the general "rallying around a thug" would be typical in every city. You should have seen all those New York Rangers fans all of the sudden falling in love with Sean Avery when he joined the team. It sure as hell isn't just a Nashville thing.

When it comes to sports, a city invested in their team will begin to think of the people on the field as their own. It's like if you're out at a bar and someone gets in a fight with your friend, you're going to back up your boy, even if you realize that your friend really was making inappropriate comments to the other guy's girlfriend.

Of course, over time, you might realize being friends with that guy is not good for your health.

I don't condone the actions of Finnegan, and feel it has no place in the game, but I am just as intolerant of Andre Johnson and I don't care about his bullshit apology. There are too many people out there who will do bad things, and by stepping up and being a man, and apologizing afterward, they seem to think it's OK. I'm tired of people thinking because they've admitted a mistake, the mistake magically never happened, or at the very least, it was OK for them to make that mistake because they admitted to it. I would have been better with, "I shouldn't have allowed such a weasel to get under my skin, he deserved a beating, but I should have known better." Behind closed doors, that's probably what he's saying.

Maybe Johnson has only ever lost his cool with Finnegan (he was fined for ripping off Finnegan's helmet last season), that might be worth something. But it's obvious Finnegan is no match for Johnson in a street fight, and it seems like he could easily ignore him and just go out and play football.

It lends itself to the whole perception after the game, where numerous NFL pundits came on to say, "Well, Finnegan is a thug and Johnson is a holy figure who brought dead daisies back to life with a simple touch." People aren't as bad, or as nice, as you think they are. The love-fest for Johnson made me sick.

It reminds me of a line in JFK, where Kevin Costner wants to get people with bad reputations on the witness stand and his associates are uneasy about it. He says, "I wonder why it is that just because a woman is a prostitute that must mean she has bad eyesight." So Finnegan is a thug, so he must have been 100% responsible for that fight. He may have been, I don't think we'll ever know, but it does take two.


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