On Sunday, Sauce Gardner accused New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones of hitting him below the belt.
On Monday, Gardner shared video that purportedly shows the alleged incident. The video shows Gardner, a New York Jets cornerback, shoving Jones after Jones emerges from the middle of a scrum following a quarterback sneak during Sunday’s game between the AFC East rivals. Gardner continues to pursue Jones as an official intervenes and Jones walks away from the situation.
Later Monday, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini shared video from a league source with a zoomed-in few of the alleged incident. The alleged hit is mostly obscured, but Jones appears to make contact with Gardner’s groin with his right hand.
Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner said after the game against the Patriots that Mac Jones hit him in the “private parts.”This video sent from a league source is a closer view. pic.twitter.com/UTayhuu6iB
— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) September 25, 2023
Here’s what Gardner had to say after Sunday’s game, a 15-10 Patriots win.
“That’s probably the first time that ever happened to me,” Gardner told reporters. “He got tackled. He reached his hand up to try to get me to help to get him up. I just moved his hand out of the way.
“He got up and he just came up to me like ‘Good job.’ While he was saying that, he hit me in my private parts. I didn’t react like I really wanted to. … I definitely wasn’t expecting that. First time for everything I guess.”
Gardner then joked that Jones was threatening his prospects as a future father.
“I do gotta ice up,” Gardner continued. “He’s trying to stop me from having kids in the future.”
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Jones denies accusation
Jones was asked about Gardner’s accusation. He denied hitting him below the belt while changing the subject to the physical nature of running a quarterback sneak.
“No,” Jones said when asked if he thought he did anything wrong on the play. “I think just trying to get the first down. Third-and-one, and then we came back on fourth-and-one and tried to fake it. Definitely a physical play. Lot of guys are in there.
“It’s kind of like the famous quarterback sneak that everybody does. All the guys on both teams are in there. It can get pretty physical. That’s something that I have to learn from is getting my pads a little lower so I can get it and not get held up.”
Previous accusations toward Jones
This is not the first time that Jones has been accused of dirty play. In 2022, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple accused Jones of “dirty play” after Jones dove at his feet during an interception return by linebacker Germaine Pratt.
“He tripped me,” Apple told reporters. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before. I’ve seen it.”
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay then wrote on social media that Jones is “Dirty af!!”
The NFL fined ultimately fined Jones for the low hit on Apple and a separate unnecessary roughness penalty in the same game. The league has not publicly addressed Gardner’s accusations toward Jones from Sunday.
Christine Lake is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. With an extensive background in sports journalism, he covers everything from major league championships to grassroots sports events. When she’s not on the field or at the stadium, you’ll find Christine coaching youth sports teams.