Bart Scott has to keep his cool. Let's get that out of the way right off the bat, so there's no misconstruing our take on what happened in the New York Jets' locker room Friday.
That being said, while the easy story here is to further the "Jets are a circus" storyline, indications are Scott was provoked by Jets Confidential reporter Dan Leberfeld into a confrontation that included threats of violence and lawsuits), as well as Jets PR man Bruce Speight's needing help restraining Scott. The spat quickly made headlines when news of the screaming match was tweeted.
Though Scott has been close to such a scenario in the recent past, it appears there are no innocent parties in this one.
USA TODAY was not on the scene, but reporters in the locker room said there was no doubt Leberfeld's snapping a picture of Scott walking with another reporter was meant to get a rise out of Scott, who declared a "media mutiny" (read: "boycott") after the Week 1 victory over the Buffalo Bills because he doesn't like the way reporters have portrayed the Jets of late.
In fact, J.P. Pelzman tweeted Scott blasted his music Thursday while reporters were trying to interview other players in the locker room. If Scott doesn't want to speak to the media, fine. But he shouldn't get interfere with others willing to provide insight for reporters attempting to provide fans with the best possible coverage.
Now, Leberfeld's snapping a picture of a shirtless Scott apparently wasn't his first attempt to do so this week. Leberfeld took a pic of Scott on Wednesday, according to Newsday's Greg Logan and Scott reacted by swearing at Leberfeld. Newsday's Neil Best confirmed Scott's cursing in Leberfeld's direction and says Leberfeld claimed on an interview with WFAN Friday afternoon he didn't hear Scott's yelling at him.
I've been in locker rooms since I started in this business a decade ago. Some teams have explicit rules stating there is to be no still photography in the locker room. (The Jets, as a quick Google search reveals, have no such rule.) Others allow it, though only when a player is conducting an interview at his locker. The accepted code among many, regardless of team policy, is to not take pictures of a player who is less than fully dressed unless, again, he decides to do an interview at his locker while going shirtless.
In short, Scott has been acting like he was looking for a fight. Leberfeld was clearly going for some kind of reaction. Both apparently got what they wanted.
And now, regardless of who is more to blame, the Jets have another distraction on their hands.
I'm shellshocked Leberfeld was involved....