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View from New York: Cutler convicted in trial by Twitter

After the Bears’ quarterback had his character demolished on the social media site, John Riordan has sent a column that’s over 140 characters.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had his 'toughness' questioned after retiring injured from the championship game.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had his 'toughness' questioned after retiring injured from the championship game.
Image: AP Photo/Tim Sharp

TWITTER CAME DOWN hard on Jay Cutler, didn’t it?

Ok, so our favourite way to spend the first hour at the desk has prematurely killed a few people, launched a couple of revolutions, brought football analysts to their knees and even given us a democratic sense of hope that Conan O’Brien read that gushing tweet we mentioned him in.

So should we really make time in our busy schedule to feel any sympathy for a grumpy Chicago Bears quarterback who had his whole character torn to shreds in 10 mad minutes of frantic speculation?

When Cutler dismissed a question from a reporter about his “toughness” in the Soldier Field locker rooms after the Green Bay Packers rolled on towards the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, he replied “no comment”.

But his expression spoke a thousand words of realisation. His eyes darkened and his face fell, all too aware of what the viral talking point had been and would be for the next 24 hours.

Cutler knew there and then that he needed a miracle. He needed another Kardashian to announce a record deal or a Jersey Shore character to tweet “Is Italy the one with the Eyefel Tower?” Or, if at all possible – and this is a long shot – he needed Chad Ochocinco to change his name again.

It kind of shows where the NFL is at when we need a player to be strapped to a stretcher, seeing triple (if at all), throwing up all over himself and deliriously singing Nicki Minaj tunes (“you got something all the girls want etc”), to be absolutely sure he can’t continue. Get well soon, braw.

But hang on, there’s Mr Cutler standing on the sideline with two complete, whole legs, keeping warm and looking disinterested. It caused distraught Chicago fans to burn his jersey in the parking lot after the NFC defeat.

Now Cutler had two things in common with LeBron James – the number six jersey and the fanatical burning of said number six jersey. (And actually James was quick to sympathise with his brother-in-victimhood)

For committing the ultimate sin of leaving the game injured just after half-time, Cutler was suddenly persona non gratis in the Windy City. He had flaked like all the pundits said he would. There was no time to wait for Monday’s MRI scan because these tweets don’t tweet themselves… yet.

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Guilty

Even I’m complicit, somewhat. I had to fire off an overnight wrap of the two conference games for the Irish Examiner’s website due to print deadlines having long passed. Instead of ignoring the petty hysteria surrounding Cutler, I mentioned it.

I’m relieved to read back over it and find that I made no clearcut judgment but I made sure to write that Cutler had indeed suffered an MCL strain in Tuesday’s follow-up. The Examiner has had enough problems shifting copies in Chicago.

The worst injury I’ve ever had was a medial knee ligament tear. At the risk of identifying myself with a star quarterback, I can vouch for the pain and hassle it causes.

I went in for a tackle a couple of years ago back in Cork and my studs got caught in the turf. It was a beautiful September afternoon and I had just been made captain (Greenmount Rangers, salute!). I didn’t play again that season.

And yeah I was able to walk around during that time. I even played through to the second half. But there was nothing there. It’s not just that it hurts, it’s complete and utter helplessness. And while the lords of the cruciate will always have that edge in the pain stakes, there is no way Cutler had any business continuing in the Chicago offense.

In fact, I’m so convinced of this that I’m off to write a tweet to offer my support… I’m what? Too late? Everyone’s moved on? Oh… ok. Well, I hope you know I had your back Jay. Hypothetically.

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