Back to winning

Jonathan Vilma talks about getting back on the winning track and has some thoughts on the reaction to Ron Artest.

Updated: November 26, 2004, 10:15 AM ET
By Jonathan Vilma | Special to ESPN.com

Vilma diary
Editor's note: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets, will chronicle his rookie experiences in a weekly diary for ESPN.com. This is No. 15 and for the previous diaries, look below.

  • Diary No. 14: Reed leads Ravens
  • Diary No. 13: Playing McGahee
  • Diary No. 12: MNF spotlight
  • Diary No. 11: First loss
  • Diary No. 10: Coming from behind
  • Diary No. 9: Happy homecoming
  • Diary No. 8: Heading home
  • Diary No. 7: Road trip
  • Diary No. 6: First win
  • Diary No. 5: City Championship
  • Diary No. 4: Playing Peyton
  • Diary No. 3: Finally on the field
  • Diary No. 2: Short week of camp
  • Diary No. 1: Ready for camp
  • I'm glad we're back on the winning note.

    The media has been calling our win against the Browns "ugly", but a win is a win, regardless of how it came to be. Besides, I enjoy defensive games anyway. Our defense is really beginning to gel and it's really starting to feel like old times when I was at Miami. At Miami, we would always say that as long as the offense scored 14 points, we could win the game. Hopefully, here with the Jets, we'll get to a point where we'll only need seven in order to win games. Most importantly, we're now 7-3 and right in the thick of things.

    Security was really tight at the Browns' Stadium, which I guess was attributed to the now infamous "Malice at the Palace", as it has been termed, as well as the melee that occurred at the South Carolina-Clemson game.

    These events are now in media overload, but what is really interesting to me are the sentiments of others, particularly those of a guest on the Sunday morning episode of ESPN's 'Outside the Lines'. Robert Lipsyte, a sports writer, said that the notion of disrespect is an "underclass, made up hip-hop genre" perceived by those in those groups.

    Jonathan Vilma
    Linebacker
    New York Jets
    Profile
    2004 SEASON STATISTICS
    Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
    64 48 16 0 1 1
    What he and others do not seem to understand is that everyone, including athletes, can be disrespected, and it is not relegated only to the perceived "underclass" and "hip-hop" communities, as he tried to reason. I am an educated professional athlete -- not underclass or part of whatever the hip-hop genre is supposed to be -- who was raised to understand that there are principles of respect that are universal, and there are others who are like me. Notions of respect and disrespect are found in every culture and "genre", and people should not be so narrow-minded as to put it off as an underclass or hip-hop issue.

    But back to football, this week we are playing in Arizona, in a stadium that will bring back memories, and not all of them will be good (Miami lost to Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl). This time though, I hope that we are on the other side of the winning score and I just PRAY not to have another overtime, as I don't seem to do well in OT. It will be interesting to go up against a legend like Emmitt Smith. What would be even more interesting is to hold him down while Curtis [Martin] is able to establish his game. I know this may not be a "marquee" game, but there should be a lot of action that I am looking forward to, as well as more team records to break.

    As always, I look to having a monster game, and as long as we play our game, I am confident we will win. Talk to you next week.

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