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Packers Suspend Jaire Alexander For Must-Win Game Because He Fucked Up A Coin Toss

Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers
Michael Owens/Getty Images

As first reported by Ian Rapoport, cornerback Jaire Alexander has been suspended by the Green Bay Packers for a game due to "conduct detrimental to the team." Said conduct? Going out for the coin toss at the start of the Packers' matchup with the Carolina Panthers, despite not being an elected captain. He walked out alongside the actual captains for that week (Aaron Jones, Quay Walker, and Eric Wilson) and then nearly gave away a possession after winning the toss and telling the referees, "We want to defend," as opposed to "defer," causing a good deal of confusion. After the game, Alexander didn't seem terribly worried about the whole ordeal, giving a very strange, nonplussed interview following the Packers' 33-30 victory over the Panthers.

"I said, 'I want our defense to be out there,' and they all looked at me like I was crazy," Alexander said, when asked about the situation. "I'm like, I mean it's pretty simple what I said, like I want the defense to be out there. They like, 'You mean defer?' and I'm like, 'Yeah, I guess.'"

According to Alexander, it made perfect sense to elect himself captain because he's from North Carolina, and his coach probably would have given him the designation anyway had he been aware of this important connection. Alexander explained all of this in a tone that suggested everyone else was being weird in this situation. To be fair to Alexander, the Packers do install different captains on a week-to-week basis, so maybe he was right to feel overlooked. Head coach Matt LaFleur didn't seem to appreciate the move, though, but mostly because Alexander forgot to say "defer."

"That was a big mistake," LaFleur said. "That's something that you review with the guys before they go out there every time about, 'Hey, we win the toss, we're going to defer.' I went to the officials before the game, made sure they knew what we were going to do. We had an incident earlier this year where we had a similar situation, so always trying to be proactive in that approach."

When later asked if Alexander was elected captain by the coaches or if he elected himself one, LaFleur covered for Alexander in the moment by simply replying, "Yeah." The incident was just the latest example of Alexander's strange behavior this season, and now the Packers have suspended him for it, according to a statement from GM Brian Gutekunst:

The decision to suspend a player is never easy and not one we take lightly, unfortunately, Jaire's actions prior to the game in Carolina led us to take this step. As an organization, we have an expectation that everyone puts the team first. While we are disappointed, we had a good conversation with Jaire this morning and fully expect him to learn from this as we move forward together. We look forward to welcoming him back next week as he is a valued member of this team and will continue to be in the future.

The Packers' next matchup is against the Minnesota Vikings, a divisional game that is also essentially a playoff elimination battle. Despite those circumstances, the team has has decided to suspend the league's highest-paid, All-Pro cornerback for a matchup against star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The Packers are either so rules-obsessed that they are willing to hamstring themselves heading into the biggest game of the year over an ultimately silly and harmless incident, or there's more behind this suspension than just the coin-toss mistake. Either way, it's hard to imagine Alexander being in Green Bay for much longer.

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