Rex Ryan won't address video report
The New York Jets are on the verge of making the playoffs, but the focus once again is off the field as coach Rex Ryan is being asked whether his wife, Michelle, posted foot-fetish videos on the Internet.
In a conference call with Chicago reporters and at his news conference later Wednesday leading up to Sunday's big game with the Bears, Ryan didn't deny a Deadspin.com report that shows a number of videos of a woman who looks very much like his wife showing off her feet while a cameraman -- who sounds like Ryan -- talks to the woman.
"To be honest, and I get it, I know you need to ask and all that stuff," Ryan told reporters when asked if the situation could snowball into a distraction. "But it's a personal matter and I'm really not going to discuss it, OK?"
Ryan said it was between him and his wife and he would not elaborate beyond that.
At his news conference, he was asked repeatedly about the videos and said many times: "It's a personal matter."
Ryan was asked if the incident was taking away from his team's preparation this week. The Jets just need to beat Chicago to make the playoffs.
"I'll be ready to coach Chicago, and I am ready," he said. "It's my job and I'm focused on the job at hand."
Does he have the full support of Jets ownership?
"I don't know how to answer," Ryan said. "I would think I would have support. We're 10-4. I think we're playing pretty well."
When asked point blank if he and his wife had made the videos, Ryan would not say one way or another.
"I understand I'm going to get asked this question frontways, sideways, backways, and all this, but it is a personal matter," he repeated.
The coach was asked how his wife is doing.
"My wife's beautiful," he said. "We've been married for 23 years. She's awesome."
A still photograph from one of the video clips was splashed across the front of the New York Daily News and showed a woman with her feet hanging out of an SUV. She is approached by someone who is not on camera and he tells her that she has "really beautiful feet."
The other videos show the woman sitting on a couch, having a drink, reading a book and sitting on a porch and rubbing her feet.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said he supported Ryan in a statement made later Wednesday.
"Woody [Johnson] and I have met with Rex," he said. "This is a personal matter, and he has our full support."
Johnson, the Jets owner, is scheduled to address the media Thursday, but it had been previously scheduled so he could talk about the suspension of Sal Alosi for tripping a Dolphins player.
Several players told ESPNNewYork.com they had seen the Deadspin report.
Darrelle Revis told reporters that Ryan addressed the situation in the Friday morning team meeting.
"His message this morning was, you know, he said, 'You guys might know about this Internet situation, some of you guys might not know.' He said, 'You'll find out later on today.' He said, 'Right now, I feel embarrassed. ... Right now, we need to focus on Chicago," Revis said. Another player, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told ESPNNewYork.com that Ryan referred to the report in the meeting as "an embarrassing family matter."
When it comes to Rex Ryan, his wife, and foot fetish videos, it's time to exercise our right not to know. As ESPNW's Jane McManus notes, he did nothing illegal or unethical, so let's all shrug our shoulders and move on to Jets-Bears. Story
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League spokesman Greg Aiello was asked via e-mail if the league would look into the situation as a possible violation of the league's personal-conduct policy. He replied: "We consider it a personal matter."
This is just the latest controversy for the Jets. Alosi, the team's strength and conditioning coach, was indefinitely suspended after he tripped Nolan Carroll during a punt return Dec. 12. The NFL is investigating.
Earlier this season, the league also investigated the team after it was reported that female reporter Ines Sainz was harassed at Jets practice.
The league hasn't finished its investigation into Brett Favre -- then the Jets quarterback -- for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages and photos to sideline reporter Jenn Sterger.
Ryan himself came under fire for using profanity repeatedly during HBO's "Hard Knocks" show on the team in the preseason.
In January, Ryan also was fined $50,000 by the team after he was caught on a cell phone camera flipping his middle finger at a fan during a mixed martial arts competition in Sunrise, Fla. The image of Ryan quickly spread across the Internet and made its way onto the back pages of New York tabloids. He apologized the next day in a statement, calling his actions "stupid and inappropriate."
And wide receiver Braylon Edwards has been dealing with a drunken-driving charge that could affect another case stemming from an altercation in Ohio.
Revis didn't see a problem with Ryan's behavior, if he was in fact involved in the making of the videos.
"Foot fetish? Whatever. I mean, that's his wife," Revis said. "At the end of the day, that's his wife and he can do whatever he wants with his wife. It's not like he's out committing adultery or anything negative."
Linebacker Bart Scott, who has known Ryan from their days together in Baltimore said: "I love him to death, and I'll be right behind him, supporting him -- all the time. That's all I know how to do. It's family. It's not Coach Rex, it's Uncle Rex." Guard Brandon Moore didn't think the story would be a distraction.
"It has nothing to do with football," he said. "It's not going to be mentioned around here. Game-planning for the Bears, we don't put a sheet up and talk about the situations that are going on outside." Asked about Ryan's demeanor Thursday, Moore said, "He seemed like normal Rex to me."
ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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