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Jets not happy with Sam Darnold's 'seeing ghosts' comments being aired

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold against the New England

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold against the New England Patriots on Oct. 21, 2019. Credit: AP/Bill Kostroun

The Jets are fuming over what happened Monday night — not in the game, but on the ESPN broadcast.

The decision to air Sam Darnold’s “seeing ghosts” comment during the 33-0 loss to the Patriots on Monday Night Football set off the Jets. It went viral, became a national story, and everyone has been having fun at Darnold’s expense.

Now the Jets are showing support for their 22-year-old quarterback.

Le’Veon Bell tweeted that the “NFL screwed Sammy over” for airing a private conversation. Adam Gase said the organization will re-consider their involvement and cooperation with networks from here on out.

“That was really disappointing to hear about after the game,” Gase said during a Tuesday conference call. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that where somebody that was mic’d up, that a comment like that was allowed to be aired.

“It bothers me. it bothers the organization. We’re going to be looking hard into our cooperation going forward.”

Darnold clearly was rattled against the Patriots. He had his worst game in his professional career.

The second-year quarterback had five turnovers — four interceptions and one fumble. Darnold had three of those turnovers on the Jets’ first four possessions. It was during that stretch that he made the “ghosts” comment that took on a life of its own and made Darnold look bad. But he didn't seem as upset about what happened.

“I’m not embarrassed by it,” Darnold said during his weekly spot on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN Radio. “It would have been nice if it hadn’t made the air. With that being said, it’s something that happened. Now I got to address it.”

“It was at a part of the game, a slim portion of the game, for maybe a series or two that it was the case. They caught me saying it on the air and they played it for everyone. I’m not embarrassed by it. It is what it is. Worse things have happened to me. It’s just a bummer that it was live and all that.”

It’s nothing new for players to be mic’d up. The head coach and quarterback have to be mic’d up by NFL Films once a year. The Jets authorized it, but they didn’t expect this.

The way the process works is NFL Films has a representative on-site who listens to what the mic’d player says. That rep then approves what’s put on the air. Darnold’s comment was approved by the rep and ESPN aired it.

The Jets spoke to the NFL, NFL Films and ESPN on Tuesday about this situation and expect to have more conversations, a league source said.

“You’re never anticipating something like that happening,” Gase said. “The fact that it did just gives us pause to really cooperate anymore because I don’t know how we would allow our franchise quarterback to be put out there like that.”

Darnold wasn’t seeing actual ghosts. It’s a fairly common expression when quarterbacks see guys open who aren’t or they misread a blitz or a coverage.

The unbeaten Patriots have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and can have that kind of effect on a young quarterback. Bill Belichick has won his last 20 games against a first or second-year quarterback.

Darnold was 11-for-32 for 86 yards and finished with a 3.6 passer rating in a game that dropped the Jets to 1-5.

Bell was seen talking to Darnold in the locker room after the game. He tried to lift his young quarterback’s spirits after his terrible performance. Bell took to Twitter on Tuesday to again show he has Darnold’s back.

“The NFL screwed Sammy over,” Bell tweeted. “There’s not one player in the NFL who’s cool with having every sideline convo broadcasted to millions...there’s a reason we’ve never heard other QB's frustrated on the sideline like that before...that’s crazy, @NFL did Sam dirty as hell.”

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