Why Jones-Drew on Cutler is still at issue

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
3:38
PM ET
Maurice Jones-Drew clearly had no idea he’d be in the center of a storm as a result of two tweets he wrote Sunday about Jay Cutler.

He got slammed for being part of the player brigade questioning Cutler’s toughness.

So Monday he spoke to the Associated Press to try to set things straight. He came out said he was joking in the one tweet that compared Cutler to Urban Meyer as a quitter and said a second tweet intended to explain himself didn’t question Cutler’s toughness. He said he’d received death threats over the tweets, which is, of course, absolutely ridiculous for anyone to do under any circumstances. Some of the stuff that’s been less threatening also goes well beyond appropriate ways to express one’s anger.

Tuesday as MJD spoke to a group of school children, he apologized for the tweets, says Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganguli.

If he was only joking, what’s to apologize for?

Jones-Drew has shifted his stance on this issue as much as Vince Young did when he was asked if he’d want Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy when it was being taken away. In three consecutive chances to answer, Young said yes, he said no, and he no commented.

The running back has always struck me as a standup guy, but he’s done terribly here owning what he said and/or explaining himself. He can stand up to gang tackles but this he can’t handle?

Other guys who spoke out on Cutler have already managed to shed it, but Jones-Drew’s “defense” has kept it alive.

I know I'm making a trade here -- I participate in keeping it alive in exchange for making further points about it. Last night I decided not to. Today I wasn't able to reach the same decision.

At that school event Jones-Drew was asked by a TV reporter about the death threat(s). I asked Ganguli how that played out and here's what she wrote me:
“He mentioned getting death threats in the same sentence as talking about how people were connecting the Cutler thing to CBA talks and the strength of the union. Two examples of things he thought people shouldn't be saying, then he segued right into saying he gets why Brian Urlacher and Cutler’s teammates stood by him.

“Then he was asked how nasty the comments from people got and he said, ‘I really don't want to get into that’ but that there were things that didn't scare him but that just were brought to his attention and ‘I don't want anything to happen like that to anybody, I didn't know joking around would cause that much controversy.’”

Later in the day, however, he did want to get into that.

He went on what, depending on the tone you gave it, may have qualified as a twitter rant seeking to change the subject and make the threats the emphasis. He was apparently unsatisfied with how his chosen media outlet -- he talked only to the Associated Press -- played that angle, even as hours earlier in a public forum and media present he chose not to make a big deal out of it.
  • “I guess death threats towards me and my family isn't head line news but me tweeting my opinion about a person is... The society is backwards I guess we haven't came far enough as human beings”
  • “When has a threat towards a person especially now. Has gone unspoken about on any national stage is outrages and unbelievable.”
  • And to a question from someone asking MJD if he was now the victim who should be felt sorry for (and called him a dirty name), Jones-Drew said: “<--- never said feel sorry but after the deal in arizona I don't threats are cool.”

Again, people went way past the line. Give him hell, but don’t threaten him.

But if Jones-Drew had serious concerns, he’d call the police not tweet to complain about insufficient press coverage, no?

And I just spoke to a Jacksonville police official who said his department has not heard from Jones-Drew.

I hope we’re done with this. But I hoped the same Monday and Tuesday. And if Jones-Drew changes his stance yet again, I can’t make any promises. Perhaps it’s time for a little quiet?

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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