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Reporter: Jets Fans 'In Denial' Over '(Bleeping) Mess' Culture Problem

The Athletic is standing by its bombshell reporting, claiming that the New York Jets' culture is a mess and their fans are in denial.
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As with any sports team in the Big Apple, New York Jets fans can be a rowdy bunch.

Just ask Dianna Russini of The Athletic, who has drawn the ire of many Jets fans recently. Russini reported in December that Zach Wilson was reluctant to return to the lineup after his prior benching. Then in January, she reported how the team's culture turned into a "(bleeping mess," as one source put it, after Aaron Rodgers' Achilles injury in the season-opener.

Despite the vitriol she's received from Jets fans, Russini, who lives in New York, still firmly stands by her reporting.

Jets' fans at the Week 16 game vs. Washington

“I think Jets fans are in denial. They want to call people liars because they don’t want to believe that it’s that bad, that the culture is that awful,” Russini said in an interview with Pardon My Take. “So don’t blame the team, blame the reporter that uncovered all of this.

“Because I live in an area where there are Jets fans, like, at the eye doctor the guy who was helping me, he’s like, ‘Come on,'” Russini said. “People want me to say ‘All right, we dramatized it, it’s not really that bad, Aaron’s great, he’s kumbaya with everybody.’ When the reality is it’s a mess in New York. It’s really bad.”

Most of Russini's 30 sources for the aforementioned "culture issue" piece opted to remain anonymous, but due to The Athletic's policy, she had to disclose them to her editors. As such, it's not as if her reporting was unfounded.

The Jets have the longest playoff drought in the four major North American professional sports at 13 years now, so it's not hard to see why fans are fed up. However, there are many more internal reasons for that drought than external, so their anger is a bit misplaced.