If you want to know the real story behind an athlete and the troubles they have allegedly been accused of, wait until the day after to get results.
The second day story is always the best one.
In the case of Maurice Jones-Drew, reading copy from various websites, local newspapers and television programming has shed a different light on what happened in the case that has left the star running back under investigation for battery.
The incident stems from a night at a nightclub in St. Augustine over the Memorial Day weekend where Jones-Drew has been accused (and not officially charged) with hitting a security guard, leaving him unconscious at the scene of the crime.
The reason for all the excitement today is I can finally make heads or tails of what is truly happening. All so often, legal matters scatter at the scene of the crime or in this case at the expense of trying to get the story out before everyone else.
And just like Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette said (and I totally agree), the letters MJD should never be linked with letters TMZ.
That’s right, we heard about this story from TMZ.com before we heard about it from local authorities or ESPN.com or the local television stations. That should tell you about the amount of credibility this story should have gotten. It also would have allowed reporters like myself a little more time to get all the facts.
Here is what we know so far.
Right now, there have not been charges filed in this case. According to the Florida Times-Union, the St. Augustine Police Department at first said that Maurice Jones-Drew had been charged with battery stemming from an altercation between the Jaguars’ running back and a nightclub security guard.
The security guard had been in an altercation with one of Jones-Drew’s friends because of his interaction with a female at the club.
Stories across the Internet, including ESPN.com on Tuesday, stated Jones-Drew rushed to the aid of his friend when the security guard put the friend in question in a headlock, leading to the punch thrown by MJD.
Whether this is true or not is still under investigation, but according to a story by Ryan O’Halloran on Jacksonville.com, The St. Augustine Police Department released a statement early Tuesday afternoon saying Jones-Drew had been charged after he allegedly punched a security guard at the Conch House Restaurant and Marina, “knocking him out.”
But after several sources said a charge hadn’t been filed and Jones-Drew wasn’t on the cusp of being arrested, the police issued an amended statement hours later.
“Jones-Drew has not been charged with any crime and maintains his innocence,” the press release said. “He is cooperating fully with our investigation. This matter is an on-going investigation at this time.”
While the news agencies and sports websites did act accordingly and made the necessary filings to get the news out and as factual as possible in a timely manner, the bigger piece of the puzzle was missing. Everything focused on MJD and his dealings with the law.
The bigger picture of this is the fact Jones-Drew is rehabilitating a foot injury, is in the final year of his contract and his status with the Jaguars beyond 2013 is unknown.
Something like this, whether he is innocent or not, adds to the drama associated with dealing with a star player who not only wants a new contract, but could leave this team after 2014 should the Jaguars franchise him for another year.
Jones-Drew has always been an outspoken player on Twitter and in the media and on radio. You have to respect him for that. But sometimes his words have backfired on him when talking about Jay Cutler or playing in Los Angeles or discussing the Jaguars' quarterback situation.
And when he put himself first over his team last summer and held out for 38 days, he lost a little bit of credibility with the local media.
It is also reported by ESPN that Jones-Drew is cooperating with authorities to get to the bottom of this case. Kudos to him. But what will happen once the results are found?
What if he is found to have been involved? How does it affect the teetering team he plays for? And what about the foot he is still trying to heal? This is just another stone in the bowl of issues associated with this team’s star player.
And all of this is easy to understand because we waited for the smoke to clear the day after the news broke. Today is the day of the real story.