A Tempe barber has filed an assault complaint accusing Arizona Cardinals running back Thomas Jones of punching him “10 to 12 times” in the face at a Scottsdale nightclub in November — about the same time Jones told team executives he broke his hand reaching for a telephone in his home.
According to a Scottsdale police report filed earlier this month, Maurice May told police the assault took place between 11 and 11:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at Sanctuary Nightclub & Bar, 7340 E. Shoeman Lane.
May said he was leaving the restroom when a man he later learned was Jones said “I’m tired of you, (expletive)” and punched him in the face. May said Jones then tackled him, sat on him and punched him in the face 10 to 12 times, according to the report. May said he required 18 stitches to close a split lower lip. He also showed the reporting officer a chipped tooth and some residual swelling around his right cheekbone that May said was a result of the assault.
May is 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 295 pounds, according to the police report. Jones is listed at 5 feet 10 inches and 220 pounds in the Cardinals’ 2002 media guide.
May, his attorney, Reginald Cooke, Jones and Jones’ agent, Tom Condon, could not be reached for comment. The Cardinals issued a brief statement through team spokesman Paul Jensen that they would look into the matter.
“The Tribune has made us aware of the report,” Jensen said.
Jones told the team Nov. 23 he had broken his hand the day before while reaching for a telephone in his home. Coach Dave McGinnis talked to Jones and Jones’ mother about the incident, and both told McGinnis the same story.
The Cardinals placed Jones on the reserve/non-football injury list the following week and, per the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players association, declined to pay Jones the balance of his salary — about $135,000.
Team representatives said at the time it was because they didn’t want to set a bad precedent, not because the Cards disputed Jones’ story.
In mid-December, there were rumors that Jones had hurt himself in a fight at Sanctuary, but there was no tangible proof anything had happened. Officially, the team continued to say it had no reason to doubt Jones’ original story.
May told police the assault occurred Nov. 24. That date fell on a Sunday, though a recording at the Sanctuary’s telephone number says the club is open only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
May said in the police report he did not report the alleged assault until Feb. 3 because “he was trying to let his attorney handle the incident through Jones’ agent.” His attorney later told him to file the police report. The Cardinals have left messages with Jones numerous times since the December rumors surfaced, but he has yet to talk to anyone in the organization, a source familiar with the team said.
Jones, a former first-round draft pick, has one year remaining on his contract, set to pay him $535,500. The team plans to bring him back this season to be a part of the running back mix, although he will enter training camp behind Marcel Shipp on the depth chart. Since the Cardinals haven’t been able to talk to Jones, however, the team is unsure whether he is prepared to accept such a role. Even before his off-field injury, Jones was upset that the Cardinals had been using Shipp so much and complained he had never been given enough work to prove whether he was a No. 1 back.
Jones is a candidate for a trade if he doesn’t stay with the Cardinals. He would cost $1,425,000 against the salary cap this season if he is dealt, and $1.96 million against the cap if he stays.