The New York media spotlight doesn’t just attract interest in how its star quarterbacks are connecting with their receivers, but also who you’re with off the field. Ask Broadway Joe. The ugly side of that prurient fascination with the personal lives of New York quarterbacks reared its head. This is the world Zach Wilson has thrust himself into.
It all started when a spotlight was shined on Wilson’s ex…receiver and his ex-girlfriend, who made things Instagram official with one another over the weekend. Back in January, Abbey Giles and Wilson, who’d been together since high school, scrubbed each other on Instagram, a 2022 digital age form of mating calls. Over the weekend, Commanders receiver Dax Milne (props on the futuristic steampunk name) posted a snap to his IG taking his relationship with Giles public.
However, internet sleuths noticed Milne and Wilson also had unfollowed each other on social media. If there’s anything we’ve learned in this TMI era, it’s that athletes frequently use social media to send passive-aggressive messages. During their final year at BYU together, Wilson and Milne connected on 70 passes for nearly 1,200 yards. We just saw Davante Adams and Derek Carr pine for each other after nearly a decade since they were a lethal 1-2 punch at Fresno State, so Milne and Wilson unfollowing was the equivalent of smoke billowing from the Vatican after the pope dies.
However, athletes dating each other’s exes is a tradition as old as the Olympics. Apparently, they were also roommates, which makes Giles one of the few people who successfully pulled off the Seinfeld Switch. However, Giles set the whole rumor mill ablaze with everyone still inside after she was referred to derogatorily as a “homie hopper.” In response to that comment on her page, she decided to air out Wilson’s dirty laundry, claiming in a now-deleted Instagram comment that Wilson was “sleeping with his mom’s best friend... that’s the real homie hopper.”
Sheesh. Things definitely didn’t end on a cordial note between them. Yet she misfired almost as badly as Zach did throughout his rookie season. Presumably, Wilson woke up more confused than Curtis Jackson about why he was catching strays.
The NFL is so starved for attention that you can see its rib cage showing, and a post like that from the ex-girlfriend of a Jets quarterback was like dropping greasy bacon on the league’s plate. It provides a dopamine rush and fills our bellies, but it’s about as vacuous as an all-dessert diet. Having said that, it’s fitting that this whole thing popped on Instagram. Giles’ page has gone dark since then, but whether or not it’s true, their CW drama was too salacious for the Extremely Online NFL community to ignore. In August or September, it would have been buried underneath training camp observations and Robert Saleh’s overly optimistic takes on the offense.
The reaction has been surprisingly positive for Wilson. Dating MILFs isn’t as taboo or uncomfortable as the stories of Mark Sanchez’s young love with a 17-year-old, which bordered on a Chris Hansen special. In that sense, Wilson is the anti-Mark Sanchez. If he can translate that anti-Sanchez potential on the field, that would be lovely. Thankful Jets fans might even let him date their moms if he leads them to a Super Bowl. Older women are more mature, and more importantly, they don’t live on social media. From the looks of things, that latter trait might be a good look for him after the stunt his ex just pulled.
On Sunday, Wilson’s actual mother posted an emotional video denouncing the evils of social media and online predators — on Instagram. Was she talking about a friend of hers? Presumably, she was addressing a situation involving her teenage daughter, not cougars, but the subtext was assumed. That development poured more energy into the solar-powered rumor mill, allowing it to attain perpetual energy. It’s all jokes for now, but Wilson will hear it from ruthless opposing fans and even Jets fans if he struggles.