It seemed to come out of nowhere. With just over 9:00 left in the third quarter of the Chicago Bears‘ Sunday afternoon game against the New Orleans Saints, Bears third-year wide receiver Javon Wims hit Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson multiple times in the helmet, starting a small scrum. Wims was ejected immediately.
There were multiple issues with what Wims did: He acted selfishly and irresponsibly, hindering his team on that particular drive and in the game, he overreacted, letting an antagonistic player get the best of him and he did something seasoned veterans never recommend when he hit Gardner-Johnson not once — but twice — in the helmet.
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Matt Nagy Says He & Wims Have Had a Conversation
Bears head coach Matt Nagy was visibly upset about the incident after the game, telling the media he was disappointed in the lack of discipline displayed by Wims: “When you have somebody throwing punches, when you have the things that are going on right now with us and the offense and just trying to get things going — guys are fighting. They’re sticking together. But then you have that happen. It takes away everything that you work hard to get to and fight for and what bothers me is we’ve got a lot of good guys that are doing things the right way and then it just takes it away.”
Nagy also told WBBM-AM 780 later that he found Wims’ behavior to be “irresponsible … selfish and it should have zero part in this game. I’m just very disappointed in him for that.”
Nagy added that he and Wims had spoken, and the wideout was “apologetic.”
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So, Why Did Wims Go Off Like That?
One astute Twitter user by the name of Evan Saacks made a thread detailing what exactly happened that may have led to Wims’ decision to literally start a fight.
It seems as though Gardner-Johnson — the same player who repeatedly mocked Bears’ running back Tarik Cohen’s height last season — started the back-and-forth when he ripped Wims’ mouthpiece off his helmet and threw it across the field. Wims and the offense were forced to punt that series, so Wims waited until he and the Bears’ offense took the field next to go after the Saints safety.
Gardner-Johnson had also stuck his finger in Bears’ receiver Anthony Miller’s face prior to Wims’ actions.
Another, more troubling detail also emerged Monday morning: NFL Network analyst Tom Pelissero reported Wims told Bears officials that Gardner-Johnson spit on him, which is not only disrespectful and gross, but we’re in the midst of pandemic in which an act like that could potentially endanger another person. It doesn’t excuse Wims’ actions, but if true, it would explain the wideout’s anger.
For his part, Gardner-Johnson said Monday that he was “innocent” when asked about the Wims incident, but he didn’t want to elaborate much further. He also didn’t want to say much about his teammate, wideout Michael Thomas, who punched him during practice a few weeks back.