FLORHAM PARK, NJ - Darrelle Revis did not have a good game on Sunday, some of that was due to the Jets defensive game plan and some of that was due to Sammy Watkins simply being that good, and he did not take the disappointing loss very well after the game. So, he declined to talk to the media, to avoid saying something out of anger that he'd regret, and he's been taking some heat for that which is absolutely absurd.
Revis has been among the most accessible superstars you'll ever see in sports. Many players, of far less talent and stature, talk to the media far less often than Revis. Revis isn't a strictly once a week guy with the media, though admittedly he has been closer to that this season, and he has always been willing to hang out in the locker room talking to reporters one-on-one more than other players. Only twice in the six years I've covered the Jets, four years with Revis here, has he declined to speak. The first was when the Jets lost a playoff spot in the final week of the regular season in Miami when there was the whole Santonio Holmes dust up in the huddle and the second time was on Sunday.
This article isn't meant as an attack on media members who are criticizing Revis. They are entitled to do so if they choose to, but at the same time I'm entitled to disagree. Reasonable people can disagree without it being an attack.
I'm a bit different than most media though, I don't think the players owe us anything, we are not actually co-workers, and I think all players should have the right to decline to speak occasionally. Especially if they are doing so so they don't say something they'll regret and especially if they are willing to risk being fined instead of talking. Some say declining to talk is being a bad teammate and lacking accountability, I say declining to talk when you're upset and emotional is being a good teammate because he doesn't want to say something that will cause issues later. It depends on your personality and your mind frame at the time, no one else knows what that mind frame is better than the player and if the player declines to speak because he's not sure he can hold back his anger and frustration that's a type of accountability.
It's great when players like Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick face the media after a tough loss, and Revis has done that countless times throughout his career, but it's also understandable that superstars can have normal human emotions like anyone else. If you are one of the misguided souls that think Revis didn't talk because he doesn't care, you couldn't be more wrong. Revis didn't talk because he cares that much. It's perfectly fine for fans to feel the pain of a tough loss but if you think it hurts you more than it hurts the players you are simply delusional.
Ideally Revis would have talked after the game but if you ask him he'd say ideally they would have won the game. So, he was pissed and didn't want to talk, that's his right as long as he's willing to risk being fined, with his frustration still bubbling. He processed the loss Sunday night, as much as he could, and stood at his locker yesterday and answered every question sent his way.
"It's a battle back and forth. He's (Watkins) a great player. I had a great game plan for him and he made plays," Revis said. "He made plays and it was back and forth. I batted a couple balls down, but at the end of the day, overall, we didn't play well.
He wasn't short, didn't hit anyone with a 'next question' or 'no comment,' he simply answered the questions he was asked, just a day later than some really wanted.
"The stats are the stats, and that's what it is. It's not individual," Revis said. "For me it's winning games. And the last one? Yesterday, we didn't. And that's the main goal."
But, again, this isn't about the media critiquing Revis, it's about some fans saying he's not a leader and he doesn't care because he didn't talk after a game for the second time in his life. Those fans are entitled to be wrong but they are most certainly wrong. Revis is still as respected as ever by his teammates and I promise you they aren't bothered by him declining to talk to the media after a heartbreaking loss.
Todd Bowles clearly wasn't bothered by Revis declining to speak after the game and yesterday he offered a simple, "yes I do" response when asked if he still thinks Revis and an "elite" corner.
"Like I said, he's a good corner. That doesn't mean good corners don't get beat, and don't have bad games," Bowles said. "But I still think the same that I always did. He's a good player, he's tough, he's smart, he works hard and he's athletic and we're glad to have him."
It's fair to point out that Revis isn't as good as he once was, but he's still easily a top three corner in this league. He's just no longer the God cornerback able to completely shut down this new crop of insanely talented young receivers. But to criticize Revis for not talking immediately after a tough loss is to not understand Revis. Of course you're free to do so if you choose just as Revis is free to accept risking a fine for waiting a day to talk. But there's one thing we should all be able to agree on and that's the fact that Revis declining to talk after the game did not contribute to Sunday's loss and it certainly won't impact a single game in the future.
"We didn't win." Revis said when asked why he declined to talk after the game. "We didn't win." And the sound of defeat in his voice as he repeated those words should be all you need to hear to know just how much he cares.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)