The opinions about Jon Jones seem to run the gamut. Either "Bones" is a menace to society and should be locked up or he's a misunderstood guy being targeted by police. When it comes to fans and their hot takes, nuance doesn't really come into play.
In reality, though, this current situation with Jones is rife with complexities.
On Tuesday, Jones turned himself in on a probation violation after being pulled over and given five traffic tickets a week earlier, including one for drag racing. Jones was on probation from a conditional discharge in his felony hit-and-run case last year and the citations caused the Bernalillo County District Attorney's office to act.
Jones spent two nights at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center while waiting to see a judge. When that happened Thursday morning, judge Michael Martinez reinstated Jones' probation with some new provisions: Jones must attend courses in anger management and driver improvement, complete 60 more hours of community service and he cannot drive without getting permission from his probation officer.
What we do know for sure is that Jones ran a red light in an SUV in April 2015, crashed into a car driven by a pregnant woman and then fled the scene. The woman ended up with a broken arm. Jones pleaded guilty in New Mexico Second Judicial District Court in September and was given the conditional discharge.
That situation is not up for debate and Jones is being punished for it. But this current one is more complicated.
Should Jones have been brought up on a probation violation charge? Albuquerque Police Department officer Jason Brown accused him of drag racing and also levied him four other traffic citations. Jones denies that he was drag racing, saying he only revved his engine at a stoplight to acknowledge some fans in an adjacent car.
Jones, 28, has not gotten his due process yet for those five tickets, which also include not maintaining a lane, exhibition driving, an illegible registration plate and a an illegal modified exhaust on his Corvette. Jones will be in court Tuesday to fight those tickets and his attorney Nancy Hollander said that his legal team believes he was profiled.
In short, we have no idea if Jones was drag racing or not. Right now, it's Brown's word against Jones' denial.
Brown was in the news himself this week. KOB 4 in Albuquerque reported that Brown, the Albuquerque PD and the city are being sued by a man named Gary Martinez, who is claiming he was wrongfully arrested last year for DWI on a traffic stop by Brown and then held for two months in custody or no reason while awaiting a hearing. Martinez claims he has epilepsy and was not drinking. His case ended up getting thrown out. Martinez was held without bail, because he was on parole at the time.
However, it must be noted -- and the KOB report did not -- that Martinez was on parole for a seventh DWI offense or greater, traffic violations and concealing his identity, according to New Mexico Corrections Department public affairs coordinator Ashley Espinoza.
Another thing we also know is that the Albuquerque Police Department was found to have a pattern and practice of excessive force in an investigation conducted by the United States Department of Justice. Excessive force does not apply to the Jones case directly, but again it's something worth noting if we're going to consider all the facts.
Brown's behavior during the Jones traffic stop came under scrutiny last week when the body camera footage was released by Albuquerque PD. Jones was surely in the wrong for what he said, too, and he admitted regret on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
An emotional Jones called Brown a "f*cking liar," a "pig" and "despicable." Jones was obviously upset because he felt like he did nothing wrong and being on probation can put everything under a microscope. Plus, it was only a day after he got three other traffic tickets from January cleared up in court. Jones not telling his probation officer about those tickets for eight days came up in the DA's motion to revoke probation Thursday.
Brown definitely did not quell the situation with Jones, either. When Jones said he was despicable, Brown said he felt the same way about Jones. At one point, Jones asked him how he slept at night and Brown made a sarcastic comment about sleeping on his "left side."
I reached out this week to Philip Sweeting, an expert on police practices and a former Deputy Chief of Police in Boca Raton, Fla. Sweeting watched the video and said Brown was not exactly following protocol.
"Bottom line is the officer should just listen and answer any questions and refrain from any sarcastic comments," Sweeting said. "A police officer is supposed to try and deescalate a hostile situation, but sarcastic comments typically escalate the situation. Fortunately [Jones] did not react to the sarcasm. I suspect if he had, the situation could have gotten worse in a hurry. It is anybody's guess if the officer was trying get [Jones] to react so he could arrest him."
Sweeting added that Brown giving Jones five tickets was over the top. He said giving that amount of citations is considered "piling on" or "attitude tickets" in law enforcement jargon.
"Although they may have been valid citations, issuing five is overkill," Sweeting said. "The tag citation is the best example of that. I suspect most tags are covered to some extent by the plate cover. Typically you would just give a warning for that."
Jones was released from custody Thursday and got right back to the gym to prepare for his title fight with Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 197 on April 23 in Las Vegas. A day later, Jones found out that Cormier was out and Saturday it was announced that Ovince Saint Preux was Jones' new opponent. The interim title will be on the line.
In MMA, it's all fluid. Things are constantly changing. It's like that here with Jones, too.
If you want to judge him for the felony hit-and-run charge last year, fine. He deserves that. Jones screwed up big time. But this one -- was Jones drag racing, merely revving his engine or something in between? -- is much tougher to put a finger on. None of us were there, so we really have no idea what happened.
It's OK to wait and see before rushing to judgment. Just because Jones has had calamities behind the wheel over the years doesn't automatically make this another one of those.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Just try to make sure it's an educated one.