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.”
Matt Nagy said he had a conversation with Javon Wims today. Says: "Regardless of what went on, he knows and understands – he was apologetic – no matter what he can't do what he did."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) November 2, 2020
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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.
THREAD: My Zapruder breakdown of the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson/Javon Wims beef.
It begins on this play on the Bears’ first possession of the second half. After exchanging some words, CJGJ rips Wims’ mouthpiece off and it falls onto the ground. pic.twitter.com/wwQgcbKdJ5
— Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) November 2, 2020
After an entire Saints drive where Wims was stewing on the bench for 11 real life minutes, Wims retaliates on the first play of the next drive. He tries to rip CJGJ’s mouthpiece out, but he is unsuccessful. That’s when he decides to throw a punch which… is also unsuccessful. pic.twitter.com/OJN6Uwuaxo
— Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) November 2, 2020
Gardner-Johnson had also stuck his finger in Bears’ receiver Anthony Miller’s face prior to Wims’ actions.
Here’s the sequence…
Looks like Ceedy Duce got a face-poke in on Anthony Miller.
Later on, Javon Wims comes over and essentially suckerpunches Ceedy Duce. He’s ejected.
Troy Aikman: “Uh, that’s just not smart football.”
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) November 1, 2020
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.
#Bears WR Javon Wims told team officials that #Saints CB C.J. Gardner-Johnson spit on him, in addition to ripping out Wims’ mouthpiece, during Sunday’s game before Wims sucker punched Gardner-Johnson, per sources.
Wims was ejected. The NFL is now considering a suspension, too.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 2, 2020
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.
Gardner-Johnson rejected the idea that he likes being an agitator but said, "I play football. It’s football, guys get chippy. I don’t know what to tell you. I wouldn’t be here today if I’m not me. So I’m not gonna change for nobody. I’m out there playing football."
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) November 2, 2020