Pat Leonard: Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s glass house has shattered into pieces over the last six months

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NEW YORK — He’s it. He was it.

Dave Gettleman made that unforgettable claim in December: that cutting Janoris Jenkins was the final piece of cleaning out the bad Giants locker room “culture” he had inherited from former GM Jerry Reese.

“He’s it,” Gettleman said of Jenkins. “He was it.”

But this assertion was arrogant and hypocritical, and the past six months have reminded Gettleman that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, as the saying goes.

The GM’s premise was faulty to begin with: that the Giants had character problems at the root of their failures, that Gettleman had the blueprint of what true character looks like, and that he would restore order with better judgment of the people he brought in.

He used this rationale to scapegoat and trade Odell Beckham Jr. in March 2019.

When asked a month later by if he had a culture problem with the Giants, Gettleman smiled and said “not anymore.” Then Golden Tate, Gettleman’s big free agent receiver signing the same spring, was suspended the first four games of the 2019 season for PEDs.

The spring arrests of DeAndre Baker and Aldrick Rosas are reminders that Gettleman is not a superior moral authority guided by some compass on character. He is a GM trying to win, willing to make compromises to do so, with no final say on who is worthy enough or not.

He is also buttressed by Giants Nation, which treats Eli Manning’s settled memorabilia scandal as a blip on the radar — even after the organization blew out the equipment room staff in its wake — but considers it a major problem that Beckham punched a kicking net and hated to lose.

Curious, isn’t it? The same people screaming at the Daily News in the spring of 2018 that the Giants never would trade Beckham were the same fans a year later saying Beckham’s trade had been inevitable and that the team was better off.

Gettleman did in earnest, of course, try to sell a higher character locker room as the beginning of something better in New York. He brought in plenty of good locker room influences. To name a few: Michael Thomas, Nate Solder, Russell Shepard, Alec Ogletree, Antoine Bethea, Alex Tanney, Eli Penny, Bennie Fowler and Jonathan Stewart.

Daniel Jones appears to be another.

But this has not created a winning culture, and the GM has been just as quick to make character compromises in the name of trying to win — just like everyone else.

Gettleman made an ill-advised draft-day trade up for Baker — who carried red flags as a college prospect — because the GM was desperate to address the position after failing to meaningfully improve the secondary in his 5-11 first season.

Kyle Lauletta, Gettleman’s 2018 fourth-round pick, had his infamous Oct. 2018 arrest in Weehawken. Gettleman even retained Jenkins despite the corner’s on-field loafing in 2017 that helped get Ben McAdoo fired, because he was talented enough to maybe mean a few wins.

The Baker and Rosas investigations are ongoing, of course, so this is not meant to convict them. And Gettleman is not the only GM who makes compromises, either.

Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill was accused of abusing his 3-year-old son early last year, and he ended up making the biggest catch of the entire season in the Super Bowl for GM Brett Veach’s champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Still, Gettleman’s constant blaming of the previous Giants regime — and his arrogance in carrying himself as some greater moral authority — make it impossible for him to skirt the myriad negative offseason off-field headlines now bombarding the Giants on his watch.

In that light, it’s ridiculous to suggest that rookie head coach Joe Judge is the one who must answer and take action on Baker and Rosas if they are found guilty. Gettleman is the one who must hold them accountable, and he is the one who must be held accountable himself.

“He’s it. He was it,” Gettleman said naively of Jenkins in December.

He was not it. And this version of the Giants is not it, either.


Congratulations to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on finally bringing himself to say Colin Kaepernick’s name on his fourth try.

First came Goodell’s noncommittal May 30 statement on racial injustice that prompted a league employee and players to post a video on June 4 challenging the NFL to say and do more.

Second, in response, Goodell apologized on video June 5 but avoided saying Kaepernick’s name or even admitting to silencing peaceful protests in the past. Third, on June 11, got “a person familiar” with the league’s new financial social justice contributions to praise Kaepernick by name, and Goodell was not quoted.

Fourth and finally last Monday, Goodell said Kaepernick’s name on ESPN and admitted the NFL should have listened to Kaepernick and other players sooner. He also said he “encourage(s)” and “support(s)” a team signing the quarterback.

See, was that so hard? Well, yes, clearly.


The Giants observed Juneteenth on Friday, a holiday which commemorates the actual end of slavery in the United States — when Union soldiers freed the last slaves in Texas.

“As we work to bring sustained change within our communities,” the team said in a statement, “the Giants stand committed to help unite, heal and make a positive impact.”


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