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What Leonard Williams should have said instead of criticizing booing Giants fans



Leonard Williams arrived in the NFL as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played four full seasons and half of a fifth for the Jets before getting traded to the Giants midway through the 2019 season. As sturdy as they come, Williams has missed only one game in his career. 

He has played in 101 NFL games. The record of his team in those games: 34-67. As a rookie, the Jets went 10-6 with Williams and since then, the teams that paid him are 24-61. He has never come close to a second winning season. He is an expert on losing in the NFL.

If a sociology class needs a guest lecturer to speak on what it feels like to get booed by your own fans, Williams qualifies as an adjunct professor. With the Jets, Williams went 15-21 in home games. With the Giants, Williams is 4-11. When Williams arrives for work at MetLife Stadium, the ensuing result that happens 63 percent of the time is a big, fat “L.”

This season, the Giants are 0-3 at home and they have been outscored in those three games, 82-38. Only one of the games was competitive in the fourth quarter – a 17-14 loss to the Falcons in Week 3. Fans opting to spend a beautiful fall afternoon at the stadium this past Sunday would have been better served exiting at halftime (the Giants were down 28-3) or after three quarters (31-3) to get a jump on beating traffic (good luck with that, curse you GWB), or to hustle over to get the early-bird dinner special at the local diner.

What does all this have to do with Williams? It is evidence that he knows not of what he speaks when he criticized Giants fans for the repeated booing that wafted down from the crowd at various junctures of the 38-11 loss to the Rams.  

Leonard Williams with the Giants
Leonard Williams with the Giants
Getty Images

Here is a simple rejoinder (free of charge) offered to professional players when they are asked about getting booed by their own fans: the less said, the better. Try this on for size:

“I understand their frustration. We are frustrated too. They pay good money to see us play and they have a right to express their opinion when we do not give them a quality product.”

That is it. End of comment. Enough said. Rinse and repeat.

Now then, if the player wants to really ingratiate himself with the paying customers, or if the particular loss was especially heinous, the player can do a mike-drop with this one liner:

“If I were them, I’d have booed us too.”

This is always a nice touch.

Williams is a laid-back guy and it is actually easy to believe he means what he says when it comes to booing. He does not believe in it, no matter what. He admitted hearing the boos at home bothers him.

“I don’t want to be hearing boos from my own fans,” he said. “I understand that they have a right to be upset as well because they’re coming to see us put good football on the field. We haven’t been winning up to date. But at the same time, I don’t know, I don’t like that.”

Williams then went on to add a tortured analogy, saying he would not boo a salesman because he was not doing a good job. The best line from Williams was this: “It doesn’t matter what I think. I go out there to play football. I don’t sit in the stands, so I can’t see it from their perspective.”

This is true. Williams cannot see it from the perspective of the fans. He puts on the helmet and pads every game, does his best to disrupt the quarterback and stop the run, showers and leaves. If there was a clock to punch, he would punch it. He is a good player with a new $63 million contract, and he never got paid a dime based on any statistical data as to why he helped his team win, because not much of that exists.  

This is not an indictment of Leonard Williams. The Giants have so many more urgent and alarming issues than disgruntlement from a prominent player (or two, or more) that their feelings get hurt when their fans boo them.

There are moments for sports franchises where it all turns, where patience and next-year aspirations are shot and all that is left is distrust and anger. The Giants are there.  There is no benefit of the doubt with anyone, from the 53rd player on the team to the entire coaching staff to the front office to ownership. Everyone is complicit in these football crimes. An operation does not play 51 games and lose 32 of them, as the Giants have done since the start of the 2017 season, without too many fingerprints to count as incriminating evidence.

Williams does not speak for the team or all players. He speaks for himself. Others have steered clear of the booing question or else met it head-on. Players are not fans of the team they play for. Fans are embarrassed. That is not a word bandied about by players too often, if ever.

Safety Logan Ryan, who chooses every word carefully, called what went down against the Rams an “unacceptable performance” and added, “I’m not embarrassed because I gave my max effort. I went out there, I prepared hard, I felt like I led the guys the best I could and went out there and played. It just didn’t work out. It was hugely unacceptable, but I’m not very — at this point in my life, I don’t get embarrassed too often, so I don’t want to say embarrassed is the word.”

Ryan is a player. He got paid to be at MetLife Stadium this past weekend. The fans paid to get in. Boo all you want, but know this: the loudest protest any fan base can make is silence. Empty seats mean lost revenue and that will not be tolerated by those who pay the players, who get booed.

More that came out of the worst Giants loss of an already-terrible season:

Sit the man

Want more evidence why Daniel Jones, removed from the concussion protocol two days earlier, should not have been on the field in the closing seconds of this blowout loss? 

Daniel Jones during the Giants' loss to the Rams
Daniel Jones during the Giants’ loss to the Rams
Getty Images

Korey Cunningham, elevated from the practice squad earlier in the week, played his first three snaps for the Giants to close out the game, lining up at right tackle. So, coach Joe Judge thought it wise to have his starting quarterback in the game to the bitter end, throwing on every down, with a third-string tackle in to protect him. 

Sometimes a coach wants to keep his guys in there hoping they find a way to leave the field on a positive note. Judge had his opening for this. Jones orchestrated a meaningless 53-yard touchdown drive ending with 6:21 remaining. Perfect. This was the positive note amid all the disharmony. Time for Mike Glennon to finish up at quarterback. 

But, no. With 3:21 to go, Jones came back out and proceeded to throw 10 passes on the final 10 plays. For what? Imagine if he got hurt in these closing seconds?

Trickery, no treat

The Giants even botched a play that did not count. Late in the first quarter, the Rams on 4th-and-11 – thanks to a sack from Williams for a seven-yard loss – were set to punt from the Giants’ 42-yard line. On the sideline, Judge was shouting to watch the fake punt – always a possibility with Rams punter Johnny Hekker, a master at such deception. 

Judge’s warning was either unheeded or too late, as Hekker took the snap and easily found receiver Ben Skowronek, completely uncovered, on the left side, where the Giants did not have a gunner lined up opposite him. The uncontested pitch-and-catch went for 15 yards and a first down. 

The Giants were bailed out when offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called, nullifying the successful fake punt. Even when the play did not count, the Giants found a way to put an embarrassing product on the field.

Medical emergency

Kadarius Toney chats with DeSean Jackson of the Rams
Kadarius Toney chats with DeSean Jackson of the Rams
Getty Images

It is not a proven axiom that bad teams get hurt more often than good teams, but it sure seems that way with the Giants.

What gives with this parade of players who filter on and off the injury list and leave games, never to return? The Giants listed left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot) and rookie receiver Kadarius Toney (ankle) as questionable heading into this game; both were limited in practice all week. Both started the game, although neither was at full strength.  Toney lasted six snaps before his ankle gave out. Thomas was in for 29 snaps, then took a seat for good with what might be a new ankle issue, or else an ailment that arose as a result of the foot injury. Were they rushed back too quickly? 

Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Kenny Golladay (knee) were casualties of the terrible loss in Dallas in Week 5. This is now an epidemic.

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New York

Crypto firms pay massive price tags to name arenas as sports teams weigh risks



Cryptocurrency companies are being forced to shell out massive premiums in sports sponsorship deals as professional teams weigh the risks of getting burned — like some of them did during the dot-com bubble., a Singapore-based crypto trading site, reportedly paid $700 million for the naming rights to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for 20 years — more than five times what Staples had paid for the same rights in 1999.

And in March, Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX ponied up $135 million to rename the home of the Miami Heat. That’s more than triple what American Airlines paid for naming rights in 1999.

Arena owners are able to demand more money from venture capital-flushed crypto firms because they’re relatively unknown names in an unproven industry, experts say. 

“If you want to do a deal with Mercedes Benz, that’s safe,” Columbia University sports management professor Joe Favorito told The Post. “If you go after a nontraditional naming rights deal, you probably ask them for a lot more money.” 

That’s because arena owners remember stadiums named after long-gone tech firms such as Baltimore’s PSINet Stadium and Boston’s CMGI field — both of which had to be re-christened after their namesakes imploded when the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. 

Exterior of the Baltimore Ravens stadium
The home of the Baltimore Ravens had to be renamed after tech firm PSINet imploded in 2002.
Getty Images

“During the bubble, there were companies that bought in on buildings and went bankrupt and that was an extremely disappointing and troubling thing,” said Favorito, who added that scrubbing a defunct company’s name from a stadium can also damage a franchise’s brand and can reduce its appeal to future sponsors.

As a result, crypto firms with unproven track records have to make their offers so big that team owners “can’t take anything else,” according to Chris Lencheski, an ex-Comcast executive who has worked on arena naming deals. He compares the dynamic to the “tobacco premium” that cigarette makers had to pay for sports deals in the 20th century.

Beyond arena naming rights, crypto companies are also spending big on other sports deals. 

Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen on the red carpet
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen starred in a $20 million ad campaign for FTX in October.
Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen starred in a $20 million ad campaign for FTX in October, while American crypto exchange Coinbase paid an undisclosed amount to become the NBA’s first-ever “crypto sponsor” the same month. also paid $175 million in July to plaster its name on Ultimate Fighting Championship posters and merch for 10 years. StormX, a startup that pays out crypto cash-back awards on online purchases, signed a multiyear deal to adorn Portland Trail Blazers jerseys with a logo patch in July.

“These companies are in a mad dash to get their name out there and put their stake in the ground,” said Woody Thompson, executive vice president at sports and entertainment marketing firm Octagon. 

The premium prices venture capital-flush crypto companies are willing to pay for ad space are likely to raise advertising costs across the board, forcing traditional advertisers like car, retail and beverage companies to shell out more money, Thompson said.

“This is what happened with the dot-com boom” he noted.

As lawmakers and regulators debate how to oversee the booming crypto industry, teams and arenas in the Washington, DC, area are seeing especially high interest from crypto companies and other new financial technology firms, according to Favorito. 

“In Washington, the people who are going to games are lobbyists and senators and you want to be front and center with them in their space,” he said. “Nobody’s really talked about the casual lobbying that goes on at a hockey game or a football game.” 

Exterior of the FTX Arena in Miami
In March, Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX shelled out $135 million to rename the home of the Miami Heat.
Shutterstock / Johnny Michael, FTX and StormX didn’t respond to requests for comment. Nor did the Portland Trail Blazers, the UFC, the FTX Arena or AEG Worldwide, which owns the Staples Center.

Coinbase spokesman Andrew Schmitt declined to provide details of the company’s NBA deal.

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New York

Vita Vea gets tooth knocked out, seems just fine with that



Vita Vea was all smiles despite getting one of his front teeth knocked out Sunday.

The Buccaneers’ defensive tackle was shown grinning and pointing to his bloody new gap on the sidelines after he lost a tooth while being blocked by Colts guard Mark Glowinski in the first half.

Vea’s helmet appeared to be coming off before contact — with his facemask rising above his mouth — enabling a direct hit by Glowinski’s helmet into Vea’s face to dislodge one of his teeth.

Vita Vea tooth
Vita Vea had his tooth knocked out by the helmet of Mark Glowinski.
Vita Vea tooth
Vita Vea didn’t seem too bothered by having a tooth knocked out.

The replay of the play led to this exchange between Fox play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Greg Olsen:

“Oh, he lost a tooth,” Burkhardt said.

“And he’s smiling. That’s the best part. Oh my gosh,” Olsen added.

“Does the tooth fairy come for 26 year olds? I’m just asking. That is unbelievable,” Burkhardt said.

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New York

Manhattan skyscraper snags its own builder as a tenant



The Spiral is adding a large new tenant who won’t have to ask where the elevators and the bathrooms are when it moves in.

That’s because Turner Construction Company, which just signed a 13-year, 75,000-square-foot lease, is actually building the new Tishman Speyer tower on the far West Side. Turner is the general contractor on the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group-designed skyscraper with a top-to-bottom landscaped spiral of exterior terraces.

Turner is moving its worldwide headquarters to the third floor of the tower, aka  66 Hudson Boulevard between West 34th and 35th streets. It will relocate from 375 Hudson St. in January 2023.

The deal brings The Spiral’s 2.8 million square feet to 54 percent leased with a year left before it’s completed.

Turner handles $12 billion of construction each year worldwide. Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer called the firm  “an incredible partner as we built The Spiral, introducing technology, safety and workforce innovations that make it a new standard for modern office development.”

Turner CEO Peter Davoren said the building “will provide us with an environment that so well defines our vision and the future of the company.”

Construction workers at The Spiral's site.
Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer (second from right), along with others involved in creating The Spiral, signs the steel beam for the topping out of the building.

The Spiral will also be home to COVID-beating vaccine maker Pfizer, the anchor tenant with 746,000 square feet.

Large leases were also signed by law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and AllianceBernstein.

Terms of the Turner deal were not released. Asking rents in the tower have been reported as ranging from $110 per square foot at the base to $225-plus per square foot at the top.

A rendering of The Spiral with the Chrysler Building in the background
AllianceBernstein has also leased space in The Spiral, aka 66 Hudson Boulevard.
The Spiral NY

A CBRE team of Mary Ann Tighe, Rob Hill, Brendan Herlihy and Elliot Bok advised Turner on the deal. Tishman Speyer was repped by an in-house leasing team.

When news broke last week that Chubb signed on as the first tenant at 550 Madison Ave. — a deal that we first forecast three months earlier — observers, Realty Check included, were curious what the lease terms were.

The first tenant at a new development or redevelopment typically gets a more favorable deal than those that follow.

We’ve now learned that Chubb will enjoy 24 months of free rent.

Once the two years are up, the rent will increase in stages from $110 to $140 per square foot on floors 10 to 17 and from $160 to $190 per square foot on floors 36 to 38.

For a street where nobody wants to shop anymore — as lots of off-base media reports claim —  it’s remarkable how the prime stretch of Madison Avenue north of 59th Street continues to draw luxury retailers even as some others move away.

Heidi Klum wearing a camouflage Birkin bag from Hermes
Hermès, maker of bags favored by style-setters like supermodel Heidi Klum, is opening a flagship store at 702 Madison Ave.
GC Images

The newest arrival will be Italian menswear maker Kiton at currently vacant 692 Madison Ave. between East 62nd and 63rd streets. Kiton just signed a lease for a three-level, 3,400-square-foot boutique next door to scarf and bag emporium Hermès — which will soon move into a much larger space at 702 Madison.

“This deal is a true testament to luxury retail in the city,” said broker Marc Sitt of Kassin Sabbagh Realty, who with Dorel Melloul represented the landlord at 692 Madison, the Ezair family.

“With Hermès opening their new flagship, this corridor will be more vibrant than it was in previous years.  We’re happy we structured a lease which made sense for everyone,” Sitt added.

Hermès will soon house its men’s and women’s collections in one building at 702 Madison.  

A building with the Cushman & Wakefield logo on the front
Cushman & Wakefield handled Kiton’s side of the leasing transaction at 692 Madison Ave.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kiton is expected to move in next summer. The store will also remain at 4 E. 54th St., a building owned by Kiton.

The Madison Avenue asking rent was $1.2 million per year.

Kiton was repped by Cushman & Wakefield’s Alan Wildes and Ian Lerner. Sitt also credited Kiton lawyer Massimo D’angelo for playing an important role in the deal.

Other recent nearby retail transactions include Celine at 650 Madison Ave. and Balenciaga at 620 Madison.

Prolific architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox has renewed its lease and expanded at Tishman Speyer’s 11 W. 42nd St. KPF added 38,000 square feet on the entire seventh floor,  bringing its total in the 1928-vintage building — known for its fine views and abundance of natural light — to more than 100,000 square feet.

The rent started in the low $60s per square foot, sources said. As part of the deal, KPF will enjoy one year of free rent on the expansion floor.

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