What Was Javon Wims Thinking? Not About His Team, That Is For Sure

We’ll never know for sure what Chicago Bears receiver Javon Wims’ was thinking Sunday when he started punching New Orleans’ Chauncey Gardener-Johnson in the head right in plain sight. But we do know what Wims was not thinking:

He was not thinking about his teammates, not thinking about trying to win a game with the Bears 5-2 and in first place, not thinking about how to help the Bears’ horrible offense, not thinking about the playoff race.

Apparently, Wims was standing on the sideline for 10 minutes of real time (just under four minutes off the game clock) thinking about getting Gardener-Johnson. He was not preparing for the next play or focusing.

But plotting.

Bears coach Matt Nagy told WBBM-AM 780 in his post-game show that Wims had been “irresponsible. It’s selfish, and it should have zero part in this game. I’m just very disappointed in him for that.’’

Nagy is disappointed in Wims? That’s fine. What Nagy didn’t say is that he should be disappointed in himself too. What kind of ship is Nagy running? Why aren’t his players all together on this, thinking like a team? Thinking about the goal?

This doesn’t reflect well on Nagy. Wims is responsible for his own behavior, but this makes me wonder if Nagy is up to the job at all. Has he communicated the importance of the moment to his players?

It could be just one player acting stupidly, but it looks an awful lot like a team that doesn’t emphasize discipline or focus.

A reader of YahooSports sent the site video from the Fox Sports broadcast of the Bears 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints. The video shows that with 12:49 left in the third quarter, Wims walked up to Gardener-Johnson, who ripped the mouthpiece off Wims’ helmet and threw it to the ground.

Wims then left the game and apparently stood there on the sidelines plotting revenge. He eventually got back into the game. And with 9:03 left, Wims tries to take Gardener-Johnson’s mouthpiece before punching him in the head. Wims was thrown out of the game, the Bears were penalized 15 yards, and quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception on the next play.

According to reports released Monday, Wims told Bears officials that Gardener-Johnson had spit on him.

The league will surely suspend Wims. If there’s evidence that Gardener-Johnson actually spit on him, then Gardener-Johnson needs a long suspension as well, especially in times of a pandemic. Gardener-Johnson should also be suspended for grabbing a piece of equipment that goes in Wims’ mouth.

I get the desire for payback when someone spits on you. That’s gross. But team first.

The coach has to have his players thinking.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.


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  1. I don’t think Gardener-Johnson did anything that should result in a suspension. When a guy walks at you helmet firsr, there are worse (probably less gross) things you can do beyond flicking a mouthpiece from someone.

    Gardener-Johnson showed tremendous restraint when he was attacked, twice no less.

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