Until more is known on KC Chiefs’ Willie Gay’s arrest, let’s no more condemn than shrug

·5 min read
Tammy Ljungblad/tljungblad@kcstar.com

So, here’s the scant amount anybody removed from the immediate situation knows when it comes to the arrest of Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay (which as of Thursday afternoon remained an entirely fuzzy and incomplete picture):

Not much, really.

And even less about the most salient details.

What happened isn’t clear, no matter how anyone wants to rush to rash judgment or express their certainty on social media.

We know Gay was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with criminal damage to property totaling less than $1,000, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office booking log and the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office.

Per the reporting of The Star’s Sam McDowell, we know that Gay was charged with one count of misdemeanor damage to property resulting from an incident late Wednesday at an Overland Park apartment.

And that the offense report says the total amount of the property damage, to a vacuum cleaner, a cellphone screen, wall/door frame and a humidifier, was $225.

Also that there were no drugs or alcohol involved, according to the Overland Park Police Department offense report. The charge is a class B non-person misdemeanor, “which constitutes a domestic violence offense,” according to the complaint.

Beyond that? It’s all hazy and sketchy, with authorities not even offering a specific alleged narrative as of Thursday afternoon.

Be judgmental, not curious, if you wish.

But any assumptions that anyone is making from the outside looking in are pure conjecture when it comes to Gay, who pleaded not guilty on Thursday afternoon and was expected to be released later in the day on a $1,000 signature bond.

His status for the Chiefs’ playoff game against Buffalo on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium was unclear as of late Thursday afternoon.

Even what Gay’s representative, Maxx Lepselter, said in a statement defending Gay earlier in the day leaves about as many questions as it suggests to be providing answers.

“Willie was at his sons (sic) house visiting. He and the mother got into an argument during which he broke her vacuum,” Lepselter wrote in a statement sent to multiple news media outlets. “No one was touched, nothing happened beyond (a) broken appliance.

“She called cops about it and they took him in on misdemeanor destruction of property of less than $1,000. Likely just pays a fine and replaces vacuum. Nothing more, all should be resolved today with no further issues.”

Maybe it was more than meets the eye.

Maybe it was less.

That’s all the difference, and it’s the entire point.

We should no more condemn than shrug … at least until there is some actual factual clarity.

Where the notion of withholding judgment gets sped up and warped, of course, is in the context of how it might affect the Chiefs in these next few days as they prepare to play Buffalo in an AFC Divisional playoff game.

As of Thursday afternoon, there was no indication from the Chiefs one way or another about whether Gay would play in Sunday’s game. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo deferred to coach Andy Reid — who won’t speak to the media again until Friday.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ only real comment on the situation has been to say they’re aware of the situation but … have no comment.

Whether Gay plays or not is a secondary matter in the grand scheme of things. Or at least it should be, no matter how much you want the Chiefs to win.

But the question of whether he’ll play also is why this situation has such immediate urgency to so many people, especially since his particular range and sense of the field and overall skills could be crucial to the pressing issue of containing mobile Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.

So we could all stand to ask ourselves how any snap perception is tethered to what you wish most as a fan. Or, conversely, what you want to believe based on episodes in which other players might have been involved in the past … all of which has zero to do with this particular situation.

So while some on social media are saying, “How could you make him sit for breaking a vacuum cleaner?” others have presumed the worst.

Without details and the process playing out, though, none if it is valid.

As for the purely football aspect, perhaps the Chiefs will determine that Gay will not play on Sunday. And if they do, they’ll have to adapt.

Again, from a purely football standpoint, that would be too bad for the Chiefs. But dealing with such flux is also something every team goes through every week in some form or another.

Much of the Chiefs’ season has been underscored by losing players shortly before games.

That includes situations like L’Jarius Sneed missing a game against the Raiders in December (and four days later against the Chargers) two days after his brother’s murder, to eight players out on the COVID-19/reserve list for the game against the Steelers on Dec. 26.

Like any other team, the Chiefs have had plenty of players hurt in games, too.

“If this happened in the game and it was an injury, we’d just operate it that way,” said Spagnuolo, meaning the Chiefs would have to adjust.

It also could be that the Chiefs decide Gay is good to go on Sunday … and thus leave themselves open to criticism for that.

Whatever the case, here’s hoping for more transparency from all concerned in the days to come.

Or at least enough to enable more informed perspectives.

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