New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said Tuesday he was not happy that quarterback Sam Darnold’s comment about “seeing ghosts” aired on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast.
“It bothers me, it bothers the organization,” Gase told reporters. “Obviously, you never anticipate something like that happening. The fact that it did, it just gives us pause to really cooperate anymore, because I don’t really know how we can allow our franchise quarterback to be put out there like that.”
Darnold was intercepted by New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon with 5:34 left in the first half, his second interception and third turnover of the game. During the Jets’ next possession, ESPN aired a segment with audio from plays where Darnold lost a fumble and threw the interception to Harmon, then showed Darnold on the bench afterward saying, “(I’m) seeing ghosts.”
According to multiple reports, ESPN requested to have Darnold “mic’d up” for the game, and the team agreed. The sides had the same agreement for Week 2’s game against the Cleveland Browns, but Darnold wound up not playing after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.
An NFL Films representative — not ESPN — reportedly decides what audio gets aired during the “MNF” broadcast, without ESPN or the Jets signing off. The New York Daily News reported that NFL Films higher-ups are not happy with the representative who cleared the “seeing ghosts” comment for air.
Jets running back Le’Veon Bell tweeted harsh criticism later Tuesday, saying “The NFL screwed Sammy over.”
“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,” Bell added.
Darnold ultimately finished 11 of 32 for 86 yards, four interceptions and a passer rating of 3.6, as the Patriots’ defense delivered a series of blitzes and disguised pressures. The Jets lost 33-0.
“I just gotta see the field a lot better,” Darnold said after the game of the “ghosts” comment. “That’s kinda what that means. It was a rough day out there, rough night out there, and obviously I gotta be better and learn from the mistakes. But we will get better.”
“Obviously when we go back and look at this, he’s not gonna be happy,” Gase said Monday night when asked about the comment. “He probably was feeling like guys were coming free when they might not have been.”
The Jets do not play again on ESPN this year. Their only remaining prime-time game is Dec. 12 in Week 15 on a Thursday night at Baltimore.
—Field Level Media