Victor Cruz’s reputation among New York Giants fans is in serious jeopardy after his recently foolish comments.
In 2011, Victor Cruz was the New York Giants best wide receiver amidst their successful season and Super Bowl XLVI victory. As an undrafted free agent the year prior, he went from nothing to something, and was an instant fan favorite. Chants of Cruuuuuz would be heard after every catch. His trademark salsa dance occurring after every touchdown.
But in week 6 of the 2014 season the tides drastically turned. Wide open on a 4th-down pass, Cruz went up to receive a routine touchdown catch but instead came down in agony. He had torn his patellar tendon. Cruz was carted off the field in tears, as he knew that injury would drastically alter the timeline of his career.
Cruz finally saw the field and re-joined the Giants in the 2017 season. In week one against the Dallas Cowboys, Cruz salsa danced like old times as he finally caught another touchdown pass. It turned out to be his one and only score of the season.
Throughout the season the Giants offense struggled. Pass protection and running the football were the two imperative issues with the team. The Giants season ended in a 38-13 wildcard round playoff loss against The Green Bay Packers.
As a Free Agent after being released by the team, (he recently signed with the Chicago Bears), Cruz recently voiced his displeasure on a radio show:
“Halfway through the year, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m ballin’ and then the other half I’m not getting the ball,” Cruz said. “And you’re just like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was like ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’ ”
As hosts questioned his claims, Cruz continued with his comments:
“A lot of people probably don’t know this: Let’s say I played well, was a 1,000-yard receiver last year, it would have been more difficult from a fan perspective to cut me. If I’m a 1,000-yard guy, they’re like ‘Why are you cutting Cruz? He just had 1,000 yards and had five or six touchdowns. That doesn’t make sense.’ But if I have 500 yards or whatever the case may be, it’s a little easier on the fans to be like, ‘Oh, he didn’t play well, so that’s why the cut him.’ And if I played well, they owed me a ton of money that next year so it was like, ‘Let’s get Cruz off the books.’ ”
A host of the show then implied, “That would explain why you were open so much and weren’t getting the ball.”
“I’m glad you said it,” Cruz snidely responded.
Cruz continued to put his foot in his mouth when the hosts followed up with more questions. When asked about whether or not Eli Manning deliberately didn’t throw him the ball when he was open, he replied:
“It’s hard to believe,” Cruz said. “Even just to think about someone coming up to the quarterback and saying ‘Hey, don’t throw it here’ or ‘Don’t give it to this guy’ — it’s hard to even fathom that thought. Which I don’t even know or think happens. I doubt it. But when you look at the film and you look at how it goes down, that’s the only way.”
It’s abundantly clear that the innocent, appreciative star that Cruz came across as in 2011 is now completely dead. Trashing the Giants organization and Manning on your way out is incredibly childish, just ask Tiki Barber.
Cruz’s comments are completely disrespectful. The Giants organization patiently waited for Cruz to return in the midst of an injury that would’ve gotten a lot of players released. They didn’t wait for just one season. They waited for two. All they asked of him was that he take a pay cut.
Cutting Cruz was the move that the Giants, or any organization of normal sense, had to make. A 30-year-old wide receiver coming off major knee surgery and a career low season simply has to go.
To insinuate that the team was conspiring against his individual success when the Giants were starving for any sort of offensive consistency, is not only outlandish, it’s moronic.
So instead of gracefully moving on, maybe signing with another team, and in a few years likely being inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor, Cruz has made the entire situation extremely awkward.
Not to mention Cruz didn’t bother to correct the host of the show when he claimed that Manning had not played well in the past couple of years. In 2015 Manning had 4,432 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and a 93.6 QBR. And last season, Manning still had 4,027 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and an 86.0 QBR.
Cruz provided great memories for Giants fans, particularly in the 2011 Super Bowl run. But there’s no doubt that the added fame and attention changed him, as he was constantly promoting himself and his brand throughout his time with the Giants.
There’s no question that 2011 Cruz would not have been seen partying in Miami on Justin Bieber’s yacht the week before a playoff game. In fact, he may have even prevented guys like Odell Beckham Jr. from going on the boat in the first place.
At the end of the day it’s sad to see. Giants fans should always be thankful that he assisted the team in a magical Super Bowl run. But now fans will be forced to consider these recent quotes as they judge their opinions on him in the future.
Cruz backpedaled on Twitter and claimed Giants fans “should not believe the recent headlines”, and that he certainly wasn’t “sabotaged.”
Giants fans don’t have to believe the headlines. But they should sure as hell believe the quotes that came from his own mouth.
Editor’s Note: Cruz agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears on Thursday. The Giants, though head coach Ben McAdoo, have called Cruz’ assertions as inaccurate.