Giants' Janoris Jenkins says using R-word a 'hood thing'

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Friday, December 13, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins explained his use of an inappropriate word while tweeting at a fan Wednesday, saying it was "slang" that is "just part of my culture."

Jenkins was responding to a critical fan, taking exception when asked why the stats Jenkins was using to showcase his effectiveness weren't contributing to any victories.

"I can only do my job.. retard," Jenkins tweeted.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur met with Jenkins later in the day. Shurmur explained that the comments were "very inappropriate and offensive" but wouldn't disclose if his top cornerback would face any discipline.

Jenkins put an apology on social media later Wednesday. He was asked Thursday why he used the word in the first place.

"Where I'm from, we use all kind of words for slang. If it offends anybody, I'm sorry," Jenkins said. "It's a culture that I grew up in where I'm from, you know what I'm saying. We use all kinds of words for all kinds of slang. If you don't know, it's a 'hood thing. Whatever. I'm not calling nobody no name or pick at nobody. It's just something we use in the hood back at home."

Jenkins hadn't taken down the tweet as of Thursday afternoon. He was asked why he waited six hours and until after a conversation with Shurmur to apologize.

"I really didn't seem so bad with it," Jenkins said. "People like y'all started picking it up and making stories. So I just apologized."

Jenkins denied sending the tweets during practice. He said there is no cellular service in the training room (he's dealing with an ankle injury) and that the tweets went through after practice started. Jenkins wasn't in the fieldhouse for Wednesday's practice.

He was in the fieldhouse for Thursday's practice but didn't participate because of his ankle. He was later asked if he understood why using the word was wrong.

"Like I said, that is a slang I use back with my homeboys in the 'hood," he said.

But that doesn't make it right.

"I never said it was right. I said that was a slang I use back at home," Jenkins said. "I never said it was right. It's just something I use at home.

"I regret it. But at the end of the day, it's my slang. So if you take it how you're going to take it, it's on you. I don't mean to offend nobody. My dad always told me, 'Speak freely and own up to what you say.' So I always speak freely as a man, and I speak how I want to speak."

Jenkins concluded his news conference by declining to answer whether he would use the word going forward and whether he understood why it is an offensive term.

"Next question," he said.

Jenkins, 31, has one year and $11.25 million remaining on his contract. He has 54 tackles and is tied for fourth in the NFL with four interceptions.

This isn't the first time Jenkins' words have gotten him into a precarious position. Earlier this month, he expressed his displeasure with his role after a loss to the Green Bay Packers, questioning why defensive coordinator James Bettcher wasn't using him to follow the opposition's top wide receiver.

Jenkins spoke with Bettcher and Shurmur last week, and all parties involved downplayed the incident. They said they were on the same page, and Jenkins played well Monday night -- albeit in a different role, as he was the Giants' primary nickel cornerback out of the slot against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jenkins played almost exclusively on the outside during the first 12 weeks of the season.

This also isn't the first time Jenkins has gotten into trouble because of Twitter. He called out wide receiver Terrelle Pryor after a game in 2016, firing off a pair of obscene tweets that downplayed Pryor's performance during a matchup between the Giants and Cleveland Browns earlier that day.

Jenkins was also suspended in 2017 by former coach Ben McAdoo for failing to return on time from the bye week.

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