Diontae Johnson Denies Allegation He Punched Mitch Trubisky Before Jets Game

Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Diontae Johnson is denying a CBS claim that he punched quarterback Mitch Trubisky prior to the team’s Week 4 game against the New York Jets.

Months after a verbal argument took place between Johnson and Trubisky at halftime against the Jets, CBS Sports radio host Greg Giannoti joined Boom Esiason on the Boomer and Gio Show to discuss the game. Giannoti, a former morning show host on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, alleged that Johnson punched Trubisky earlier in the week leading up to the game.

Giannoti stated on air that he was talking to Steelers’ defensive tackle Cameron Heyward the day prior and asked him how in the world the Steelers lost to Zach Wilson and the Jets. Heyward stated that he was dealing with a bug going around the locker room, and that T.J. Watt missed the game, so Giannoti, who has ties to Pittsburgh still, asked a former colleague, presumably from 93.7 The Fan, if he had heard about the bug going around that week.

That’s when Giannoti dropped the story that Trubisky was punched in the face by Johnson. At least, that’s what he was told by a former colleague in Pittsburgh and obviously had the confidence in the story to talk about it on national radio.

“He was talking about the bug in the locker room was that Diontae Johnson punched Mitch Trubisky in the face that week. That was the bug that was going through the locker room,” Giannoti said.

That news was quickly circulated around the Internet and gotten back to Johnson, who immediately and strongly denied the claim. Here’s what he’s tweeted in response to the story.

The second tweet means “cap,” which means a lie. Johnson quote-tweeted an account that shared what Giannoti said. That tweet has now been deleted and is why it doesn’t appear in Johnson’s quote-tweet anymore. Bottom line, Johnson is denying the allegation.

Esiason questioned Giannoti, who pushed back and said that his buddy in Pittsburgh said that they talked bout it on the air, and that it’s well-known that Trubisky was punched in the face by Johnson, which is probably major news to anyone reading this.

There was certainly an altercation between the two at halftime against the Jets, as first reported by the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac on Oct. 17, some two weeks after the loss to the Jets. Here’s what Dulac wrote regarding the Trubisky benching and halftime altercation in October.

“Trubisky was benched against the Jets following a locker room confrontation at halftime with receiver Diontae Johnson, multiple sources have told the Post-Gazette. According to sources, Johnson began yelling at Trubisky to throw him the ball more, even though Johnson had a pass skip off his hands that resulted in an interception and failed to get his feet inbounds on what would have been a 23-yard touchdown in the first half. Trubisky stood up to Johnson and a heated exchange occurred. That’s when Pickett was told he would start the second half.”

Two days after Dulac’s report surfaced, Johnson spoke with reporters and downplayed the altercation with Trubisky, stating that there was no bad blood and that they had cleared the air.

“I don’t want to get too much into detail with that. We’re both passionate about the game. Stuff happens during football. We’re fine. We talked about it, and made up over the situation,” Johnson stated to reporters, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “No hard feelings towards each other. That’s still my guy at the end of the day. I’m gonna keep playing for him, cheering for him. Whatever it is that he needs me to do to help him look good out there, I’m going to do it.

“Like I said, there’s no bad blood between us at all. It’s just us being football players at times. We’re not going to let that stop us from achieving the goal that everyone is trying to achieve around here.”

Johnson addressing the report from Dulac confirmed that the altercation occurred but that was that. It happened, the team moved on, and everything was fine. The altercation wasn’t the lone reason Trubisky was benched. The offense needed a major spark, so that’s why Tomlin made the switch to Pickett.

Ultimately, Pickett threw three second-half picks in the 24-20 loss to the Jets, dropping the Steelers to 1-3 on the season.

Back to Giannoti’s comments. To our knowledge, not one single personality from 93.7 The Fan talked on air about Johnson allegedly punching Trubisky after Dulac’s report came out of a locker room altercation, let alone punching him in the face in the week leading up to the matchup against the Jets. Had someone spoke about it on the airwaves, it would’ve gained traction at the time, not now.

As of now, Giannoti’s comments appear completely unsubstantiated and it’s surprising he made them on the air, putting Johnson in a bad light without any facts even coming close to backing up the comments from his “buddy” regarding the altercation. If there would have been a punch in practice or in the locker room leading up to Trubisky’s benching, it would have been national news, much like Geno Smith being punched by a teammate, or Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green in the NBA punching guard Jordan Poole in training camp this season. While we try to stay away from these stories that appear so flimsy, it’s going to be a big story in Steelers’ circles and our commentary and evaluation of its credibility is important. Writing about Johnson’s denial of this claim is equally important.

As of now, all we can be confident in is that Johnson and Trubisky had a verbal argument at halftime and then everyone moved on. Johnson has certainly come out against the allegation and we’ll see if any of his teammates vouch for him.

UPDATE (2:33 PM): Mitch Trubisky tweets there is “zero truth” to this claim.

UPATE (3:50 PM): OG Kevin Dotson tweets in agreement of Trubisky’s line there is “zero truth” to the report.

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