Chiefs Fans Erupt Following News of Lengthy Willie Gay Suspension

Willie Gay Jr.

Getty Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. during Week 2 of the 2022 season.

The NFL transaction wire produced a bit of a blow for the Kansas City Chiefs on the evening of September 19.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero was one of the first to report on the story. “The NFL has suspended Chiefs LB Willie Gay for the next four games, per the wire,” he informed. “Willie Gay’s suspension stems from a January arrest for misdemeanor property damage after an argument with the mother of his son. He agreed to a pre-trial diversion program in June.”

The Athletic’s Nate Taylor later confirmed that “there will not be an appeal from Willie Gay,” adding that “the NFL said the 4-game suspension is the final resolution.” That means the Chiefs will be without the starting linebacker for matchups against the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders and Buffalo Bills — two premier Super Bowl contenders and one division rival.

Around the NFL reporter Grant Gordon detailed Gay’s violation of the NFL’s conduct policy: “Gay, 24, was alleged to have caused criminal damage of less than $1,000 that, per a District Court of Johnson County (Kansas) affidavit, included a door frame, wall and vacuum. Gay pled not guilty and, in June, agreed to a plea deal that included a diversion program, Pelissero reported.”

The case records show he was charged on January 19, 2022, with a class B misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. The case is classified as a domestic violence case. On June 22, 2022, he entered the aforementioned diversion program, meaning if he meets the conditions of the program, the charge will be dismissed from his record. He had to pay $169.50 in court costs, a $125 diversion fee, and $250 in diversion restitution.

Chiefs Fans React to NFL’s Lengthy Willie Gay Suspension

As you’d expect, this suspension news ignited the powder keg that is social media. The focal point of the complaints was centered around Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“ChiefsAholic” voiced: “Willie Gay gets suspended 4 games for breaking a vacuum and Deshaun Watson gets suspended only 11 games for sexually assaulting women. Make. It. Make. Sense.”

“So Willie Gay Jr. gets 4 games for harming literally no one except a damn vacuum but Deshaun Watson gets only 7 more games for 25+ counts of sexual assault? These punishments make no sense,” another fan wrote.

KC radio host Joshua Brisco echoed both in their outrage, stating: “I’m confused about the precedent that leads to, as far as we know, misdemeanor property damage equaling four games. Willie Gay just got 36% of the Deshaun Watson suspension.”

Some fans were also upset about the timing, on top of the number of games. One tweeted; “NFL: Let’s hand the Chiefs the toughest schedule and make them play the Chargers on a short week. That didn’t work. Let’s suspend Willie Gay.”

Fox 4 KC reporter PJ Green did offer some perspective for Chiefs Kingdom to consider.

“People have dumbed Willie Gay’s suspension down to just throwing a vacuum but the incident was considered domestic violence related,” he clarified. “The woman in the argument also accused him of pushing her. Not something the NFL takes lightly even in the age of Deshaun [Watson].”

That is one potential explanation for the NFL’s thought process behind this decision.

Linebacker Responsibilities Fall to Leo Chenal & Company

With Gay out of the lineup, starter snaps will be up for grabs. In Week 1, Kansas City utilized more three-linebacker sets but against the Los Angeles Chargers, it was just Gay and Nick Bolton in the middle of the defense for the majority of the game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Gay was on the field for 69 out of a potential 75 defensive snaps, with Bolton playing 72. Behind them was rookie Leo Chenal with 22 snaps and reserve Darius Harris with three — spelling Bolton. Elijah Lee did not suit up after eight snaps in Week 1.

Now that Gay is officially sidelined, will Chenal get the bulk of the minutes behind Bolton or will the more experienced Harris and Lee be called upon to chip in?

Harris has received the best overall grade (63.5) from PFF out of the backups, although Chenal has been the strongest in coverage — an area Gay prides himself in. The rookie has not been targeted over the course of 16 coverage snaps, which is generally a good sign that he’s been doing his job.

Arrowhead Pride film analyst Ron Kopp Jr. labeled this an “enormous loss” for this young Kansas City defense that relied on Gay at its center.

We already know how Patrick Mahomes and the offense handle adversity, but now we’ll see if Steve Spagnuolo and the defense can follow suit. Gay joins cornerback Trent McDuffie as the second big-time loss in a little over a week.

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Terry Fowler
Terry Fowler
10 days ago

Its typical NFL response with Chiefs players. 4 games is wrong and the timing seems very interesting being handed down at this time in the schedule the case was settled months ago and the decision comes down now. The law of the state gives him a probation and the NFL cines him and the Chiefs four games i
n a crucial period in the schedule. somehow theyll find a way to shut KC down. In civilian law a jury by peers cast the penalty let the NFLPA hand down the penaltys. As far as im conscerned its BIAS and BS ive been a fan for over 50 years Of the Chiefs and the NFL as a whole I ve seen alot of changes good and bad and this is overdone and should be appealed.

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