Everything is happening.
Minutes after we learned of Justin Bieber’s inability to comprehend basic traffic rules and regulations, a legal run-in involving an actual NFL player has bubbled to the surface too. Just your average Tuesday in May, amirite?
The player in question is Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. You know, the same Maurice Jones-Drew who’s still rehabbing a foot injury that cost him most of last season, and the same Maurice Jones-Drew the Jags are leaning on to help in the effort to save Blaine Gabbert’s NFL existence. No biggie.
MJD is currently under investigation by the St. Augustine police due to his connection with an altercation at a bar over the weekend. That’s the vague information we get from the initial reports, but TMZ has more, because of course.
This is the second time today we’ve linked to TMZ. If you’ll excuse me, I need to break various kitchen items over my head.
According to the police report obtained by TMZ, MJD is accused of striking the security guard with a closed fist on the guard’s left cheek, knocking him out.
According to cops, the punch was intentional.
The incident went down during “Reggae Sundays” at the the Conch House restaurant on May 26.
According to the police report, witnesses say … MJD’s buddy was told by security to stop touching a young female. The buddy allegedly put his hands on the security guard’s chest … and a melee ensued.
The security guard — who goes by the nickname “Hillbilly” — reportedly put MJD’s friend in a headlock to stop the fight … and that’s when MJD stepped in and clocked Hillbilly.
A security guard nicknamed “Hillbilly”? Rage at Reggae Sundays? Maybe I actually linked to an Onion story. Please tell me I linked to an Onion story.
Jones-Drew has reportedly been charged with battery, and TMZ also notes that Hillbilly was hospitalized with contusions and a bone bruise, and his jaw was swollen with a large lump after being knocked out. However, there were no broken bones. If this report is correct, it’s yet another example that during a long NFL offseason, generally good dudes can put themselves in bad situations, and react poorly. Jones-Drew hasn’t had any legal problems during his time as a professional football player, though prior to the 2006 draft there was an incident involving a Denny’s patron, but all charges were dropped.
Once the required legal matters are resolved — and that’s always a speedy process — the worst NFL punishment Jones-Drew will receive is a fine. For the Jaguars, though, this is another incident involving a marquee player on their offense, with the other being Justin Blackmon’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. That’s usually frowned upon by any front office, but it’s especially discouraging for a new head coach, owner, and general manager who are trying to create a shiny new brand.
I fully embrace the fact that fantasy fiends seem pretty jerk-like while immediately considering fantasy implications after legal dust-ups, but there are none here. Jones-Drew had a clean record prior to this weekend, which means that unless further damning details emerge, a suspension is highly unlikely.
That’s my initial reaction, but I could easily be wrong. Roger Goodell has been known to wave his fierce hammer of doom around, and seize the opportunity to send a message when he sees fit.
Update (3:25 p.m. ET): Formal charges haven’t been filed against Jones-Drew yet, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Also, his agent says he’s innocent in what’s now an ongoing investigation:
“Maurice was there and was not involved. As soon as an altercation broke out, Maurice exited the premises.”
Update (4:18 p.m. ET): Well, I’m confused. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is echoing O’Halloran and reporting that Jones-Drew hasn’t been charged yet, but he’s still under investigation. Alright then, but how do we explain this police report (via Big Cat Country)?
UPDATE (4:47 p.m. ET): This miiiight be the final update, though I’m not making any promises. The fecal matter keeps hitting the fan on this one, and I’ve taken a tumble down the rabbit hole.
Jones-Drew’s agent released another statement, this time saying his client wasn’t involved in any altercation at all, verbal or physical.
Jones-Drew agent: “To be clear, Maurice was not involved in any verbal or physical altercation, whatsoever … (cont)
— Ryan O’Halloran (@ryanohalloran) May 28, 2013
” … and we are confident that in due time the facts will demonstrate as much.” — #jaguars
— Ryan O’Halloran (@ryanohalloran) May 28, 2013
Update (4:55 p.m. ET): Alright, now this is the last update, at least for the next hour.
See that cool and official looking document above that nearly crashed your browser? Well, now that’s been replaced by a sweet new press release from the St. Augustine Police Department. It comes to us from Big Cat Country again, and this time I’ll use the good ol’ copy and paste method to avoid more browser frying:
The St. Augustine Police Department has taken a notarized statement of Misdemeanor Battery against Jacksonville Jaguar player Maurice Jones-Drew that stemmed from an altercation at the Conch House on Sunday, May 26, 2013.Jones-Drew has not been charged with any crime and maintains his innocence. He is cooperating fully with our investigation. This matter is an on-going investigation at this time. As soon as we complete our investigation we will send out a release with our findings or conclusion.
Cool. Until we meet again then.