football

The Cloud That Hangs Over the Giants: Ageism

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

  You can’t blame this on Dave Gettleman, or Jerry Reese.

File photo Neil Miller Nysportsextra

 The Giants, a family affair, always looked within, always took care of their own. Reese learned at Ernie Accorsi’s knee and had a solid resume. He was promoted to GM when Accorsi retired.

  You can’t blame this on Pat Shurmur or Steve Spagnuolo or even Bob McAdoo.

 The latter got the head coaching job in 2016 for possessing many of the same characteristics as Reese: He had learned at Tom Coughlin’s knee, had a solid resume and was a good soldier. He replaced Coughlin when the then 69-year-old resigned.

“Twelve years is a long time to be a head coach in the NFL,” co-owner John Mara told reporters on Jan. 5, 2016. “It’s just time. It’s just time. I think he realized it more so than anybody else.”

  No, he didn’t.

“Hey, do I agree with the move? Of course not,’’ Coughlin told the media later that year. “It hurts. It hurts. ‘Former’ is not a good word. I don’t like the word, but that’s the way it is.”

  “It’s just time.” That’s a corporate speak for parting ways with an older employee, even one that’s won those two Vince Lombardi Trophies. It’s really called ageism, one of the most blatant and underpublicized forms of discrimination active in our country.

  This came to mind –after one Giants receiver after another was lost for part or all of the season – as I was trying to understand why the Giants have this dark cloud over the team’s Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford.

Apparently, the Football Gods have been woke.

All those images of an exasperated Coughlin on the sidelines, his arms on his hips, head cocked, looking utterly exasperated after a bad play were creating an ugly narrative. Suddenly Coughlin was too old school.

He was a disciplinarian. He wasn’t a player’s coach. It was time, said Mara.

The World Health Organization said ageism presents a prevalent and insidious problem in America.

Media outlets are much more salaciously interested in reporting on the 25-year-old that claims she was discriminated against because of her cup size than the 65-year-old that claims he overheard an interviewer say he was a great candidate but ‘too old.’’ Both deserve to be heard equally.

There wasn’t much criticism of the Giants when they made it clear Coughlin’s time was up. A majority of Giants fans probably agreed because fans want to win. Now. Everywhere.

Yet isn’t it an odd coincidence that since Coughlin ‘resigned,’ the Giants have spiraled into embarrassment? The team he joined as executive vice president, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have assembled one of the league’s most talented rosters.

Do you know how desperately the Jaguars, Buffalo Bills or Minnesota Vikings or any other NFL franchise that has never experienced the euphoria of getting fitted for Super Bowl rings desires just one title? Just one!

The Giants seem further away from a title than they have since the cloud of the 70’s. Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Browns, which will be remembered as one of the worst deals in sports history if Daniel Jones doesn’t emerge as an elite quarterback.

 Sterling Shepard broke his thumb on the first day of camp. Corey Coleman tore is ACL. Rookie Darius Slayton tweaked his hamstring on Day 2. Brittan Golden suffered a groin injury. And Golden Tate, the big offseason acquisition signed to compensate for the loss of Beckham, was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug rules.

“It feels like there is a dark cloud over our room right now,” Slayton told reporters.

Wonder why.

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