SUNRISE, Fla. — The crowd at Saturday night’s Strikeforce Miami event was fairly quiet as mixed martial arts crowds go. But at one point they got particularly loud.
That point came when New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was introduced to the crowd and briefly interviewed for the Showtime broadcast. The crowd — largely Dolphins fans, of course — booed lustily, and Ryan shot back at them that he planned to beat the Dolphins twice in 2010.
If the encounter between Ryan and Dolphins fans had ended there, it wouldn’t have been a particularly big deal. But anyone who knows what drunken sports fans are like knows that the taunting of Ryan wasn’t going to end quickly, and anyone who knows Ryan knows that he isn’t the type to turn a deaf ear to fans getting on his case.
From my seat in the arena I heard multiple fans shouting at Ryan, and Ryan obviously heard them too. And when he finally reached his breaking point, he gave a fan the finger.
Now Ryan has apologized.
"It was stupid and inappropriate," Ryan said. "I wouldn’t accept that type of behavior from one of the coaches or players and it’s unacceptable from me. I apologize to the Jets organization, the National Football League and NFL fans everywhere."
The NFL fined Titans owner Bud Adams $250,000 for flipping the bird at fans during a game in November, and although Ryan isn’t likely to be fined that much, he will surely face some league discipline — all of which will serve to make the Jets’ 2010 trip to Miami more fun.