In the wake of the Jonathan Baldwin-Thomas Jones, the immediate reaction was to assign blame. After all, the Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick had a significant injury that could cost him part of the regular season and keep him isolated from his teammates well beyond then.
It’s safe to say that most of the blame, including what we handed out here, was at the young Baldwin. He came to Kansas City with a reputation as a “diva” and by all accounts was living up to that in the locker room. Certainly it was that attitude that led to the fight with Jones and the resulting thumb injury.
Today we have a few more details that should make all of us reevaluate the situation.
According to Aaron Wilson, per 610, the trouble stemmed from Baldwin not being a fan of rookie hazing, which would play right into the diva tag. As would the alleged “verbal altercation” Baldwin got into with Jamaal Charles. Where things change, however, is with what happened next. That’s when Jones is said to have sucker-punched Baldwin.
The story now isn’t if Baldwin was acting like a total punk that needs to know his role and grow up — all still true — but instead why the leader of the team is throwing punches like the drunk jerk boyfriend in every teen dramedy ever made.
This is, of course, assuming we now know how everything went down. And yes, the order of things matter.
In the original “Star Wars”, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo character shoots and kills a bounty hunter that had a gun aimed at him but that never fired. However, in the re-release in the 90’s, George Lucas changed the scene so the bounty hunter fired first and Solo was simply returning fire. Sure, either way the bounty hunter dies, but the reflection on Han is completely different in the two versions.
There is a huge difference between throwing the first punch in a fight and throwing a sucker punch. Fights between players are common on and off the field and that’s not going to change any time soon and I’m fine with that. Boys will be boys. But you can’t have a team leader running around sucker punching anyone, not even “diva” rookies.
If this whole mess only became physical because Jones decided to throw a sucker punch, he needs to be held accountable. This is one case where using the “family business” excuse is clearly bad for the team.