Giants coach Tom Coughlin addresses team about Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara cold tub incident
By Monday morning, the Giants organization was well aware of the video Steve Weatherford recorded and posted on Twitter Friday that showed Jason Pierre-Paul tossing Prince Amukamara into a cold tub.
And throughout the locker room, players maintained the act wasn’t malicious. Rather, they asserted, it was standard “horseplay” that permeates NFL locker rooms. But, as Justin Tuck put it, the word of the day was “perception,” and language used in the video, along with Amukamara’s face after he emerged from the tub, put into question whether it was innocent fun.
Whether it was or not — and the parties involved say it was — coach Tom Coughlin addressed his team Monday morning and called the act and explicit language on the video “inappropriate.”
His first gripe, however, was that his punter made it public to begin with.
“First of all, it was wrong of Steve to do that because there’s trust in the locker room,” Coughlin said. “People have to be able to rely on each other. You don’t think for one minute that would’ve happened if they said this was going to be public.”
Weatherford apologized on Twitter Sunday. He did so again Monday for a “lapse in judgment,” and called the video “distasteful.”
“I don’t think Steve meant no harm,” Pierre-Paul said. “I think he meant it to be funny. For us guys, it was funny, but to the media and all the fans, they didn’t find it funny. I apologize to my fans. It was just a joke that gone bad.”
Coughlin conceded that roughhousing is standard among players, especially at training camp, and there’s only so much policing the coaching staff could do, but emphasized anything that could lead to injury doesn’t have a place in the locker room.
He said he wasn't aware of a photo Corey Webster tweeted on Aug. 13 of rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle wrapped up in a cold tub.
“We have to be a good example for the young people and that’s a very important part of this,” Coughlin said. “When it affects other people in a negative or adverse way, then it’s an issue and then it has to be dealt with.”
Coughlin, who wouldn’t go into any details about possible discipline for anyone involved, said Amukamara, who missed 10 games last season with a broken foot, approached him Sunday afternoon to emphasize he didn’t have an issue with any teammates.
“Training camp is full of a lot of fun and a lot of pranks and that is where you build a lot of team chemistry and that is how we get along as a team, and it kind of got out of hand,” said Amukamara, who emphasized he didn’t feel he was bullied or hazed.
Now in his second season, Amukamara has been the target of pranks in his brief time with the Giants; he said he was dumped in a cold tub eight times his rookie year. Tuck alluded to “an inside joke” within the locker room about Amukamara and it’s all part of the continued effort to have last year’s first-round pick develop “swag.”
“You got to have a certain confidence about yourself,” Tuck, the defensive captain, said. “And I think that’s an area Prince is definitely growing up in, and it just seems like he’s had the best string of practices over the last two weeks I’ve seen him have and a lot of that has to do with his confidence level.”
Tuck said he will now think twice when he’s in a room and a teammate is receiving the same treatment, but it still remains a “wishy-washy subject.”
“Obviously we know how it can be perceived, but it’s something that’s been part of our culture way before I got in this league,” Tuck said. “And that’s not an excuse.”
One thing is certain: if another player lands in a cold tub, Pierre-Paul won’t be involved.
“It’s my first year,” he said of dumping players, “and this is my last year.”http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/08/giants_coach_tom_coughlin_addr.html