I think the points made that fighting representatives of a crime family, with or without guns in their waistbands, is not smart was very valid. So, Seagal Sensei is a smart man.
He went to the authorities with that info, so he is an upright man (interesting that he chose to avoid a physical confrontation and chose instead to use the police, someithing I think we've discussed here in the past).
The NY Times (when I read that a few days ago I wondered when it would make it to this site) is a reputible paper...but mistakes are made. A few years ago CNN and some reputible papers made retractions of their original versions of Operation Tailwind. Never believe all of what you read or are told.
I did not notice if the quotes above contained all that was in the article, but it was reported Seagal Sensei is caught between his previous producer and the mob, who like money-making violent movies, and Seagal Sensei's desire to change the message of his movies as it is not in keeping with his Buddhist beliefs and his religious advisors opinions. Given this, you would expect him not to 'beat up' his opponents (with or without guns) if there were a more peaceful solution (a more aiki solution?).
Personally, I think if he did what was reported (turn in Gambino associates to the authorities) it took a lot of courage. He could just pay the men and walk away. What he did protects others less able to pay.