Kadarius Toney has received backlash from his Wednesday tweet attempting to show support for former Los Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III following a fatal crash Ruggs was allegedly involved in earlier this week.
Giants head coach Joe Judge on Thursday issued a staunch defense of the 22-year-old rookie wide receiver, the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“What he tweeted out, I know where his heart was with that. I think sometimes it comes across that obviously you read it and you say OK this doesn’t really sound the right way. I think it’s more about making sure we articulate our words .. We talked as a team yesterday about our prayers should be with everybody involved, and that’s the truth,” Judge said.
“One thing I’ll tell you right now is KT’s a good kid. He’s a good dude, he really is, and he’s got a good heart. He’s a hard worker. He’s a team-first guy.”
Here is what Toney tweeted:
“We young…..everybody make mistakes….y’all lookin at the situation like “this or that” kuz it ain’t y’all…having so much too say....he know he messed up don’t drag em for it……that’s goofy to me….just pray for the families involved.”
Judge called the accident, in which a person was killed and Ruggs now faces pending felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving. an “absolutely horrible” situation.
“I think the important thing is we express our prayers are with everybody involved in this. It’s a terrible thing that happened,” Judge said
“It’s important that we understand how we articulate our words and put it out there. Ultimately our prayers are with everybody. This is a situation no one wants to see happen to anybody. No one wants to be in this situation ... It’s horrible on both sides, guys, it’s absolutely horrible … the important thing is that we articulate our words and that we watch what we say at the same time.”
Judge pointed out that many Giants players know Ruggs. He and Toney are both 22, and both from Alabama.
“This is a friend of theirs, this is a (former) teammate of theirs,” Judge said.
Judge said that Toney is “a very intelligent person” and pointed to both how young he is and the open, candid generation he is part of.
“Just from a personal standpoint I’m glad everything I did when I was 21, 22, 23 isn’t fully documented. That being said, we’ve got a group of guys this generation who are in a position where everything they have is, and they allow it to be documented in a lot of ways because we put it out there ourselves,” Judge said. “We’ve just got to make sure we keep doing a good job, especially when it comes to social media, of making sure we articulate our point the right way, that we never have to clarify or defend it. That doesn’t always come across the right way the first time, we’ve gotta keep educating all of our players, we keep working with our players all the time.
“To me it’s always important to understand someone’s heart. Sometimes guys are going to make a mistake in terms of how they articulate or verbalize something. When you understand the core of what someone’s trying to say and you talk to a guy and you understand the relationship and maybe he didn’t get the point across exactly. You understand it’s coming from the right place right there.”
In the pre-draft process, there were questions raised about Toney’s character. Judge, again, staunchly defended his young star.
“This guy’s a really, really good person. He really is. He’s a good teammate. He’s very coachable,” Judge said. “He’s got great intentions in the building what he’s trying to do to help this team. This guys’s a tough dude, he plays through a lot of stuff. In terms of this guy and his character, I have no questions about this guy’s character.”
I’m with Judge on this one. Toney’s a young kid still. He’s almost 40 years younger than I am. He isn’t going to think, or express how he thinks, the way I might. or you might. He probably could have chosen his words better. I do not believe there was any disrespect to the victim intended here. I think this was just Toney trying, in what turned out to be an imperfect way, to show some support for a friend who can obviously use some right now.
To put it the way the kids would put it, I’m not going to drag him for that.