A day after Carl Banks unleased his pent-up anger via Twitter over a Giants’ team reeling not only from a 1-6 record but a second suspension over the last three weeks, his criticism still stands.
“I said what I said,” Banks said by telephone Wednesday morning. “Nothing else to be said.”
One of the Giants’ all-time great linebackers, who now does commentary on the team’s radio broadcasts and television programming, was furious at the state of his former team. On a day that the Giants announced cornerback Janoris Jenkins had been suspended indefinitely for failing to show up at Monday’s practice and not even telling the team of his whereabouts, Banks vented with a Tuesday afternoon Twitter screed for the ages.
He put this one squarely on the players, challenging them to clean up their locker room the way Banks and his teammates took care of internal discontent during his playing days. Call him a crusty old former player who isn’t in touch with today’s players, but Banks still has the gravitas around this organization to hit home with his message.
And that message did resonate with a current Giants’ linebacker who holds a similar leadership position inside the room that Banks once maintained.
“we GAVE A DAMN FOR EACH OTHER,” Banks tweeted in response to a follower who suggested the Giants of Banks’ era in the 1980’s and ’90’s respected one another.
“if the check is the same whether you win or lose . . . Show up and GIVE A DAMN,” he wrote to another.
And when a skeptical follower suggested it was noble of a man like Banks, who has wisdom beyond his years as a football player, to suggest this year’s team clean up its act, he replied, “fyi . . . NOBLE is showing up and giving a DAMN FOR EACH OTHER in adverse times. That’s NOBLE.”
There was nothing left to be said, Banks replied when asked if he’d like to amplify his remarks further.
“If you read it, I said it,” Banks remarked.
From one linebacker to another, Banks’ words hit home with Jonathan Casillas, one of the Giants’ captains who is clearly frustrated over the fact that Jenkins didn’t have the good sense to show up on Monday, or to even let coach Ben McAdoo know he couldn’t make it.
“(Banks) understands it,” Casillas said. “He started in this locker room, so he does have a say. Yes, we do have to be accountable for each other. But I can’t say, ‘Everybody show up.’ How the hell am I supposed to know somebody’s going to miss a day? I’ve got nine brothers and sisters, so I can’t keep track of everybody. These are all my brothers in here and I love ’em to death and I got their backs. But if you break a rule and you get disciplined for it, so be it. Hopefully, when you’ll come back, you’re a better person and you learn from it.”
Casillas insists the Giants don’t have a locker room issue — “I’ve been in bad locker rooms, this ain’t it” — but it’s hard to argue there isn’t a significant problem here. McAdoo has now suspended two veteran players — Jenkins and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — over the last three weeks. This season and this team has gotten away from him, and his long-term viability as the Giants’ coach is now seriously in question. The fact that he initially misled reporters by saying Jenkins was excused for personal reasons when McAdoo hadn’t even spoken to him didn’t help his credibility.
McAdoo now presides over a directionless team, and their myriad injuries leave little hope of a meaningful turnaround, or even a respectable end to the season. Banks is right that the players have to take accountability, regardless of what they think about the coach. But it becomes more apparent each day that said coach has lost his way with so many failed attempts to keep his team together. Jenkins’ suspension is simply the latest in a long line of missteps
The players would do well to take Banks’ outrage seriously and put in a credible effort the rest of the season, even if there won’t be a playoff berth to show for it. And even if they don’t particularly like the coach.
Banks himself went back to his experience with the failed Ray Handley years of 1991-92.
“and to think we weren’t happy with that staff,” he tweeted. “But we GAVE A DAMN FOR EACH OTHER and earned our pay.”