Tom Coughlin miffed Giants posted apparent hazing video online
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The day after a game is normally when a coach goes over the video with his players. As the Giants gathered Sunday, though, Tom Coughlin's concern wasn't all about the footage from Saturday night's preseason win over the Jets. There was another video that drew his attention, one that was potentially embarrassing to the team and could have been seen by anyone with a computer.
A video of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul dunking cornerback Prince Amukamara in a cold tub was posted online by punter Steve Weatherford over the weekend. In the video, Pierre-Paul lets loose with a string of obscenities following the dunking, players chide Amukamara for not standing up for himself, and when he emerges from the tub, the second-year cornerback wipes his face and looks angered and unhappy with the treatment.
Coughlin said he learned about the video Sunday afternoon.
"I'm going to look into it, I'm going to talk to the parties involved," Coughlin said. "As I'm understanding it, there were some parts of it that were inappropriate."
There is no context to the video to determine exactly what happened. Pierre-Paul seems miffed over something. "He ain't gonna do that ---- to me," he says near the conclusion. Amukamara certainly seems upset by the end, although he barely resists his dunking as Pierre-Paul carries him over his shoulder like a firefighter. And none of the other Giants appear to be doing anything to stop the incident.
Michael Boley, Bruce Johnson, Terrell Thomas and Chris Canty are visible in the video, which closes with Canty asking the camera operator -- who he calls Steve and is presumably Weatherford -- to see the footage.
Had it ended there, the incident likely would have gone unnoticed by Coughlin. But then Weatherford posted it on Twitter.
"No way anything that occurs within this family or within this group should be a part of any kind of social media aspect," Coughlin said, sounding more irked that the video was posted than he was at the incident itself. "I'm going to address that strongly because I've spent a little time on that this preseason and I'll look into it further."
Hazing of rookies is a common practice in NFL training camps, and Amukamara, who reported late to training camp last year and was injured almost immediately, likely avoided any initiations that normally meet a first-round pick. This could just be a way of catching up with lost time from last summer, although Amukamara was routinely hassled throughout most of last season from having the contents of his locker dumped out to apparently being dunked in cold tubs before.
But could there be more to it? Other players have often expressed a desire for the thoughtful, soft-spoken Amukamara to become tougher. He nearly got into a fight with Domenik Hixon earlier this summer in training camp but wound up just absorbing a shove from the receiver and not hitting back. That led to Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck both encouraging Amukamara to stand up for himself in future altercations.
Then last week, when referencing Amukamara's play, safety Antrel Rolle noted how Amukamara needed to improve as part of the starting defense with a curious choice of words. "You have to turn into a man overnight," Rolle said. "There's no time for babying, and he understands that."
After Saturday's game, Amukamara told the Star-Ledger that he's not sure why he's being targeted with these pranks. "I'm not a rookie anymore, so I don't know why I'm getting thrown in the tub," he said. "I know it's all love."
Shortly after Coughlin said he would look into the matter, Weatherford wrote on his Twitter account: "I want to apologize to the fans. The video I posted was distasteful. Our team is a family, and we love each other. I am sorry to the fans."
The NFL has deemed it a "team matter" and will not pursue the incident.
Amukamara's best defense might be his defense. If he can play like a first-round pick on the field, the dunks will no doubt come to a swift end.
Interceptions and tackles by Amukamara, now that would be video Coughlin would be happy to review.