If Michael Thomas Has Been a Team Problem, Why Tell Us Now?
"Diva", "Cry Baby", "Just like his Uncle Keyshawn", "King of Slants"...
This is just a short list of phrases Twitter trolls have used to describe the 2019 AP Offensive Player of the Year. Thomas' attitude has been in question over the years because of his habit of finding himself in social media but it sounds like the lack of maturity goes well beyond an iPhone keyboard.
Thomas was a healthy scratch Monday night, with the injury designation listed as "Not Injury Related". Half an hour after the announcement, multiple sources stated that the decision to sit Thomas was a direct result of a practice altercation with a teammate the Friday prior the Saints matchup with the Chargers.
New Orleans fined their superstar wideout nearly $59K this week for "Conduct Detrimental to the Club" after an altercation with C.J. Gardner-Johnson that led to punches being thrown. Albert Breer of MMQB added Thomas did not immediately apologize, which likely contributed to sitting out Monday night's contest.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Focus reported that the language in the letter from the team to Thomas states that the 2016 second-round pick was never suspended by the team but just fined. As a one-game suspension would result in $27.95M in future guarantees in Thomas' 5-year, $100M that could be voided.
Following their dramatic come from behind victory in Week 5, both QB Drew Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton were asked about Thomas' actions and whether he would be back following the bye week, drawing two different answers. Brees said the two have spoken constantly, as they normally do, and that Thomas "is going to be a big part of this team moving forward. We had an incident, and Sean (Payton) addressed it. We're going to be good."
Sean Payton had a different response when asked if Thomas was only going to miss one contest. "I will keep you posted. That is something that we will discuss and we will let you know when the time is right." Payton said. When asked with a follow up question about is Thomas' absence altered the game-plan, Payton replied, "We will talk about the players that played tonight."